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Pride Winnipeg Festival Appoints New President

The Pride Winnipeg Festival Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Muhammad Ahsan as the organization’s new President.

“We’re exceptionally pleased that Muhammad has taken on this leadership role,” said Jonathan Niemczak, the outgoing President of the organization. “His broad knowledge of issues that affect our community, coupled with years of experience in rights activism, education and training, conflict resolution, and research and development, makes Muhammad well positioned to lead the organization going forward.”

Muhammad recently joined the organization, last year, as the Vice-President, Community Engagement. He currently works at the Rainbow Resource Centre as the Training and Education Program Coordinator and holds a Master’s in Public Administration with double majors in Human Resource Management and Marketing. As a new comer to Canada, he is committed to equity and inclusion of intersectional GSRD community, here in Canada and globally.

“Although I’ve only been with Pride Winnipeg for a short period of time, it has been a labour of love,” said Muhammad. “I have seen the impact that the Pride Winnipeg Festival makes on the community and I am honoured to have been chosen to lead this vital organization. I look forward to leading this volunteer team into 2019 and the future”.

Muhammad will be succeeding long-time serving Pride President Jonathan Niemczak, with his appointment coming into effect October 1, 2018.

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Statement with Respect to Transphobic Comments Made by Dave Wheeler

The Pride Winnipeg Festival Board of Directors condemns the recent transphobic comments made by 92 CITI FM’s radio announcer Dave Wheeler. These comments are repugnant, oppressive, and ignorant and have no place in our city’s media.

We call on Rogers Media to detail what it will do to prevent the continued oppressive behaviour from this individual and stand by its commitment to inclusion and diversity. Rogers Media must make it clear that there is no room for oppressive and transphobic speech at its radio stations. We are inclined to believe, if no proper action is taken, it would reflect heavily on Rogers Media’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and would appear that they are being complacent and perpetuating transphobia.

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Pride President Stepping Down After a Decade of Service

Pride Winnipeg’s President is stepping after serving the organization for a decade.

Jonathan Niemczak informed the Board of Directors on Thursday that he will be stepping down from the organization effective September 30, 2018.

“It’s been a wild journey and I’m forever grateful for the experiences I’ve had with this amazing organization and passionate group of volunteers. Being a part of the Pride family has forever changed my life and I will miss it dearly. I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life and will cherish my memories and lifelong friendships I’ve made over the last decade,” said Niemczak.

Niemczak joined the organization as the Festival Grounds and Environment Coordinator in 2008, and was shortly tasked with leading the festival operations after the move from Memorial Park to The Forks in 2010. In 2012, the Board of Directors appointed him President of the organization.

“I’ve seen tremendous growth of this festival over the last ten years and I’m proud of what we have accomplished over that time,” said Niemczak. He notes that the organization still has more work to do with engaging the traditionally socially excluded members of Gender, Sexual and Relationship Diverse (GSRD) community, however, he feels that the organization is heading in the right direction for serving the community and celebrating human rights and equality.

The Board of Directors is currently seeking to fill his position. Interested individuals can submit an expression of interest along with their resume to hr@pridewinnipeg.com.

Accessibility at Pride Winnipeg

Accessibility at Pride Winnipeg

By Melanie Ferris

Planning your first trip to Pride during the first weekend of June? Everyone is welcome to attend, but you may be wondering about some of the steps Pride takes to ensure that events are accessible to people living with a variety of disabilities.

All Pride Winnipeg ran sites are wheelchair accessible with accessible washrooms, entrances, and grounds. We also offer accessible parking spaces for our parade entrants.

Festival-goers can also look for the Red Tent again this year, which offers a quiet and safe space for those who require it.

“Pride Winnipeg has created a substance-free/family zone/accessible area near the stage for those who do not wish to partake in the beer tent, but still want to be a part of the festivities,” explained Amanda Pratt, Safety and Accessibility Director for the Pride Winnipeg Festival. “Also new this year is an accessible seating area/viewing area at the parade for those who are living with various disabilities or impairments.”

“All of our events are offered with ASL interpretation, with the highlight of our ASL services being offered at the festival,” Amanda continued. “We have on-stage ASL interpretation of all speeches, as well as music lyrics.

You can start planning your visit to Pride 2018 by accessing pride guides in both paper and online. You can pick up paper copies at TD bank locations, Rainbow Resource Centre, Red River College, Club 200, Millennium Library, ALT Hotel, SERC, and Klinic. You can access the online guide on our website here (link to: http://www.pridewinnipeg.com/pride/pride-guide/).

Pride Winnipeg encourages anyone with disabilities or who require special assistance to reach out so that arrangements can be made. Pride has on-site ASL interpreters available for patrons who would like assistance or for those who would like to have someone to sign with. To help Pride prepare for your visit, please feel free to reach out to us at accessibility@pridewinnipeg.com.

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Pride Winnipeg kicks off 2018 festival with Rainbow Flag raising

The kick off for the 2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival will happen today at the University of Winnipeg for the annual raising of the Rainbow Flag. The ceremony will begin at 10:00 am on the front lawn.

Pride Parade Route Concerns

 Pride Winnipeg’s volunteer organizers issued the following statement:

We have heard the concerns raised in our community with respect to the new 2018 Pride Parade Route. Pride Winnipeg Festival has a limited budget, and the cost of the route down Portage Avenue is currently beyond our means. We believe the new route was the right decision for this year, but we also felt the need to discuss our concerns with Mayor Brian Bowman and the City of Winnipeg.  We’re happy to inform everyone that the city has committed to working with Pride Winnipeg in the fall of 2018 to review alternative routes for the annual Pride Parade. We continue to welcome feedback and suggestions for future route options from the community by emailing us at feedback@pridewinnipeg.com.  We wish everyone a happy and safe Pride and look forward to seeing you out and about for this year’s festival.

#ForeverProud Block Party

A block party in support of Pride Winnipeg’s Resurgence Fund. Join us for awesome music from DJ Roy, entertaining hoop dancing, local drag queen superstar Victoria Lush, cold refreshments, and tasty food trucks! Beverage tent entry is 18+ with valid photo ID.

When: May 25, 2018 | 8:00pm-12:00am
Where: The Cube, Old Market Square
FREE Event

Find more information please visit the Facebook Event Page.

Queer Beer is Here!

Pride Winnipeg and Half Pints Brewing Co. are pleased to announce that Queer Beer is here! What better way to ring in the 2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival than with a refreshing Manitoba made Queer Beer.

cases of queer beer

The beer is brewed as a Helles, which is a German Pilsner. It has a mild taste, with a slightly fruity aroma derived from the hops. It’s the perfect match for the Pride Winnipeg Festival, but just as fabulous for any other warm sunny day.

Queer Beer can be purchased in participating Liquor Mart locations in Winnipeg with a portion of the proceeds of each sale going to Pride Winnipeg to assist with festival. Queer Beer will also be served right from the keg during the Festival at the Forks for the closing weekend of the Pride Winnipeg Festival June 2nd and 3rd.

For more information at the Festival at the Forks please visit www.pridewinnipeg.com/pride/festival-at-the-forks.

*Please enjoy responsibility.

Mark you calendars for the second annual Two Spirit Pow Wow

Mark you calendars for the second annual Two Spirit Pow Wow

By Melanie Ferris

It’s the most exciting time of the year for some Manitoba folks—the launch of Pride Winnipeg happens on Fri. May 25 with a flag raising at Winnipeg’s City Hall. Soon after, the second annual Two Spirit Pow Wow will happen at The Forks. Mark your calendars for Sat. June 2 as you don’t want to miss this exciting event.

Last year, the Two Spirit Pow Wow was a new event for Pride Winnipeg. Including a pow wow as part of the celebrations is an impressive step for many reasons, including the fact that according to many cultural practices, two-spirit people have been revered by their communities.

“The pow wow originated from Kelly Houle, who wanted to have a pow wow as part of Pride last year,” explains Levi Foy, Like That Program Coordinator at Sunshine House. “She went to Pride meetings and asked what kind of support we would have from them. Then she worked with Two Spirit People of Manitoba and we made a makeshift volunteer committee to make it work.”

The term “two spirit” is a way some Indigenous people refer to those in their communities who may identify as gender-variant, gay, lesbian, queer, and/or trans.

Pow wows are a great opportunity for people from all cultures to come together to dance, sing, celebrate, and make new friendships.

“Pow wows are an important time to celebrate ourselves and to share our gifts with others,” explains Foy. “My favorite pow wow memory is when I went to a pow wow by Kenora with my grandma and her sister, Dorothy. It was so cool because it was one of the few times I heard them speak about growing up and their past. I think I was 12 then.”

“It was very well received from the community and we had a lot of support,” Foy states. “This year we are anticipating there will be more people so we require a bit more effort in fundraising and what not.”

For the second year in a row year, Pride Winnipeg has been working hard to branch out and bring more diversity to both its advertising materials as well as the events.

The Two Spirit Pow Wow is a great way to create a safe and celebratory space for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members to come together and share in the rich culture of First Nations people.

“I encourage everyone to come visit the site that day!” Foy continues, “If people are interested in donating please contact comms@sunshinehousewpg.org.”

Pride Winnipeg events continue throughout the week, culminating in an exciting and lively rally and parade on Sun. June 3. You can join in the rally at the Manitoba Legislature grounds beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

You can also find a wide variety of Pride events, including “queen” bowling, rooftop parties, single’s nights, a church service, a vigil, a talk about mental health, an awareness workshop for immigrants and international students, lesbian lube wrestling, a Pride run, a slo-pitch tournament, bingo, an underwear party, and more!

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SATE to Headline 2018 Pride Winnipeg Festival Main Stage

Pride Winnipeg Festival is excited to announce that SATE will headline the main stage at the Festival at the Forks for this year’s festival. The Toronto vocalist and songwriter leads a dynamic band combining blistering hard rock with gritty funk. The empowering messages embedded in her music, and her soul-shaking live show, have quickly built SATE’s reputation as an artist impossible to ignore. Even Canada’s national daily newspaper, the Globe & Mail, declared her full-length debut album, RedBlack&Blue one of 2016’s most anticipated releases.

This year’s Festival at the Forks will feature several changes including location changes for the PrideMART and Blue Bombers KidZone, consolidating all concessionaries into one food village, and the creation of a new Health and Wellness Area and designated substance free zone. Festival attendees are also encouraged to check out the Sky Lounge at the top of the parkade for a beautiful view of the festival and a calm space to hang out. Assistance will be provided to individuals with mobility challenges. In addition, Saturday June 2nd the Festival at the Forks will play host to the Second Annual Two Spirit Pow Wow taking place from 1:30pm – 8:00pm.

The Pride Festival at The Forks begins on the last Saturday of the celebrations and runs on the following Sunday (Pride Day). The Pride Festival at The Forks occurs on the adjacent lawns of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and consists of an array of on-stage entertainment, artisans, vendors, The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Kidzone, Manitoba Liquor Mart Sky Lounge, and Queer Beer Beverage Tent. This event draws the largest crowd during the Pride Winnipeg Festival with attendance peaking on Pride Day after the Pride parade.

This year’s Festival at the Forks will take place on June 2nd and 3rd from 12:00pm – 7:00pm. For more information on the Festival at the Forks please go to www.pridewinnipeg.com/pride/festival-at-the-forks.

2018 Pride Guide is Now Available!

The 2018 Pride Guide is now available online and at various business and organization locations around Winnipeg!

In the Pride Guide you can find the following:

  • Greetings from our local leadership
  • Listing of the Pride Winnipeg volunteer team
  • An article on our new official community acronym GSRD (gender, sexual, and relationship diverse)
  •  An article on our environmental initiatives for this year’s festival
  • An article on this year’s theme “My First Pride”
  • Locations and listings of the Pride Festival Community Events
  • Information on all of Pride Winnipeg Festival’s signature events
  • Information on the Prides of Manitoba and North-Western Ontario
  • And much more!

You can pick up your copy at a variety of locations including but not limited to:

  • TD Bank locations
  • Rainbow Resource Centre
  • Red River College
  • Club 200
  • Millennium Library
  • ALT Hotel
  • SERC
  • Klinic

Please go here to view the Pride Guide online. If you’re business or organization would like to carry the Pride Guide please complete the short form located here.