Statement Concerning the Hanover School Division and LGBTTQ* Information in Classrooms

(Winnipeg, MB; April 18, 2016) – In response to the recent presentation to the Hanover School Division’s (HSD) board of trustees regarding the teaching of LGBTTQ* information in classrooms, Pride Winnipeg would like to officially state its support for the implementation of a policy similar to the Winnipeg School Division’s diversity and equity education policy within the HSD.

It is important to clarify that although Michelle McHale is a member of the Pride Winnipeg Board of Directors, she brought forward these concerns to the HSD on her own accord in a personal capacity. However, given the public engagement surrounding this initiative, we feel that it is important for Pride Winnipeg to speak out on this matter and support Michelle’s efforts.

Children who are raised or educated in an environment that is unsupportive or silent on LGBTTQ* issues are being sheltered from how the world has evolved to become more open and accepting. These children could end up being a bully or they could end up being an LGBTTQ* child who is bullied or too afraid to be themselves. What’s worse is that espousing intolerant views around LGBTTQ* children or those with LGBTTQ* parents can lead to trauma, mental health issues or in some cases suicide:

· A 2009 study indicated that “lesbian, gay and bisexual young adults who reported higher levels of family rejection during adolescence were 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs…compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection”.[1]

· A 2011 study of grade 11 youth revealed: “Among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth, the risk of attempting suicide was 20% greater in unsupportive environments compared to supportive environments. A more supportive social environment was significantly associated with fewer suicide attempts…”[2]

As adults we have an obligation to put the safety and wellbeing of children above all else, including when the protection of a child is at odds with one’s own personal beliefs. Selflessly setting aside personal views for the greater good of protecting children can have powerful and positive consequences:

· “Family acceptance in adolescence is associated with young adult positive health outcomes (self-esteem, social support, and general health) and is protective for negative health outcomes (depression, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation and attempts).[3]
· “Providing education about gender expression and LGBT issues to students, administrators, staff, and teachers is another key strategy for increasing safety in schools.”[4]

Pride Winnipeg calls on the HSD board of trustees to demonstrate leadership, set aside any conflicting personal beliefs, and put the best interests of our children first by instituting a more proactive, open, and accepting environment in relation to educating children about LGBTTQ* issues. It is up to us as parents, caregivers, aunts, uncles, educators, mentors and role models to do the right thing. Our children should expect nothing less from each of us.

Pride Winnipeg – The Pride of the Prairies – is one of the largest celebrations between Toronto and Vancouver of LGBTTQ* (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer, questioning, intersex, and pansexual) people and their allies, supporters and friends. Our mission is to affirm the lives of everyone by generating and participating in events that celebrate the history, culture, spirit and pride of people within the Winnipeg community. We invite everyone from far and wide to join our welcoming city and celebrate Pride in Winnipeg – the heart of the continent.


[1] Ryan, Caitlin et. al. “Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Young Adults”. Pediatrics. Volume 123. Issue 1. January 2009.

2 Hatzenbuehler, Mark L. “The Social Environment and Suicide Attempts in Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth”. Pediatrics. Volume 127. Issue 5. May 2011.

3 Ryan, Caitlin et. al. “Family Acceptance in Adolescence and the Health of LGBT Young Adults”. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing. Volume 23. Number 4. November 2010.

4 Toomey, Russell et. al. “Gender-Nonconforming Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: School Victimization and Young Adult Psychosocial Adjustment”. Developmental Psychology. Vol. 46. No.6. 2010.


Be A Part of The Pride TV Commercial!


We are calling on the community to submit your “Be ________” selfies to media@pridewinnipeg.com. Here’s how to do it:
1. On a piece of paper write what “Be Authentic” is to you. Is it, ‘Be Proud,’ ‘Be Visible,’ ‘Be Inspirational,’ ‘Be Queer,’ ‘Be Yourself,’ ‘Be an Ally,’ etc. It can BE whatever best represents you!
2. Snap a selfie of youand your piece of paper
3. Send it to media@pridewinnipeg.com
We are accepting submissions until April 11th. Depending on the number of submissions we cannot guarantee that all photos will be used in the commercial, but we will do our best!
This commercial will be aired on OUTtv and used in promotional materials (i.e. online clips) for the Pride Winnipeg Festival. By submitting your photo to Pride Winnipeg you are voluntarily giving Pride Winnipeg the permission to use and/or not use the photo in any medium at Pride Winnipeg’s discretion and waive any rights of compensation or ownership thereto. We respect privacy, please review our policy.

Exciting Volunteer Opportunities at Pride Winnipeg!


If you’re a student looking to expand your work experience, or if you’re just ready for an experience that will change your life, volunteer with Pride Winnipeg Festival Inc. We’re waiting for you!

Acquire priceless work experience with a strong and supportive team while advocating for, and celebrating, Human Rights! Pride Winnipeg is now recruiting a Merchandise Coordinator and Social Media Coordinator. Click here to learn more about these exciting opportunities!

Contact hr@pridewinnipeg.com for additional information.

Submissions for Festival at The Forks are now open!


Pride Winnipeg in partnership with Pipe & Hat will be bringing a vibrant live show to the main stage!

We are seeking Manitoban performers of all talents – dancers, poets, bands/musicians, drag artists, theatre groups, magicians, etc. It is not a requirement that you are a part of the LGBTTQ* community but priority will be given to those who identify as.

To submit, please email your EPK or your bio along with video links of performance material to pridemainstage@gmail.com with subject line “Act Name – ACT TYPE” Ex: Go For The Eyes – BAND. Please include a brief description as to why you feel you would be a good fit for the Festival at the Forks lineup.

The deadline for submissions is March 11, 2015.


2016 Theme Reveal – #beauthentic at the Pride Winnipeg Festival!


You can #beauthentic at the 2016 Pride Winnipeg Festival!

Pride Winnipeg is thrilled to announce its theme for the 2016 Pride Winnipeg Festival: “Be Authentic.” The theme is a call to action for everyone to, without reservation, be their true, authentic selves every day.

Despite the legal barriers for equal recognition that the LGBTTQ* (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer, questioning, pansexual, intersex, asexual) community has overcome in the last decade, there continues to be social stigmas that either discriminate against LGBTTQ* people or prevent individuals from coming out and openly identifying.

“No matter your gender identity, sexual orientation, age, race, abilities, culture; be real, be true, be outspoken, be a person who affects change, be someone who lives each day unapologetically,” said Jonathan Niemczak, President of Pride Winnipeg. “The Pride Festival is a safe place for anyone to be themselves. No judgements, no negativity; just be your authentic self.”

Festival-goers also have more Pride time to look forward to with the free Outdoor Concert & Festival at The Forks being extended to 8:00 pm on both Saturday and Sunday evenings of the Pride Day weekend.

“Year over year we’re seeing larger crowds at The Forks and to accommodate the demand we are increasing our operating hours,” explained Niemczak. “This increase will see all Pride Day weekend services extended right until 8:00 pm.”

The 2016 Pride Winnipeg Festival will take place from May 27 – June 5. During this time various community events and activities will be held across the city. The Pride Outdoor Concert & Festival at The Forks takes place from June 4 – 5. Pride Day, the day of the Rally and Parade, is June 5.

Check out our Festival page for more information about the Pride Winnipeg Festival, and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on Festival announcements.

Pride Winnipeg – The Pride of the Prairies – is one of the largest celebrations between Toronto and Vancouver of LGBTTQ* (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer, questioning, intersex, pansexual, and asexual) people and their allies, supporters, and friends. We aim to affirm the lives of everyone by generating and participating in events that celebrate the history, culture, spirit, and pride of people within the Winnipeg community. We invite everyone from far and wide to join our welcoming city and celebrate Pride in Winnipeg – the heart of the continent.


Q-pinion: Kim Davis & Where Religious Freedom Ends


As most people are aware, the last couple weeks have seen a turbulent discussion surrounding religious freedom sparked by Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis. On one side of the discussion people are claiming Davis is using religion to discriminate, while on the other side is the claim that Davis’ religious freedom is under fire and therefore she is being discriminated against for being a Christian. Did you just cringe at the last part of that sentence like I did?

While the law is pretty clear in this sense (equal marriage is legal federally and therefore to deny that is a violation of civil rights) it is getting mucked by a group of people claiming religious freedom is under fire. This begs the question, what is religious freedom and to what extent does that freedom have over the decisions and actions of an individual?

What’s the most troubling in the case of Davis and her supporters (not to mention the support of two presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz) is the complete lack of understanding of the United States Constitution.

In the First Amendment of the United States Constitution we find the “Establishment Clause,” which states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The first part of this clause is read to prohibit the Federal government from establishing a national church or excessively involving itself in religion (as a county clerk, Davis cannot be allowing her religion to interfere with her state duties and basically what Huckabee and Cruz have violated already as politicians). In other words this clause is indicating that there must be a separation of church and state, which is that church and state must always be distinctively separate entities.

Furthermore, the “Free Exercise Clause” states that Congress cannot “prohibit the free exercise” of religious practices (i.e. Davis can practice her religion however she chooses – which is what Huckabee and Cruz are saying is being violated). However, that free religion of exercise is not absolute. The Supreme Court of the United States has stated “Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.” In other words, Davis is free to her beliefs, she may communicate her opinions but any further action may be banned by the courts so long as it does not violate any other civil liberties (e.g. freedom of peaceful assembly). In this situation the courts have ruled that Davis’ religious freedom does not include the right to deny civil liberties to others on the basis of religious belief.

Finally (my most favorite because so much of the U.S. right loves to harken back to the beliefs of the founding fathers), Baptist Roger Williams, Congregationalist Thomas Hooker, and Quaker William Penn, firmly believed that democracy and freedom of conscience were the will of God. Williams gave the most profound theological reason: As faith is the free gift of the Holy Spirit, it cannot be forced upon a person. Therefore, strict separation of church and state has to be kept and forcing a person to practice or believe a religion is prohibited.

In the end, if Davis is religiously conflicted about issuing marriage licenses to same-sex/gender couples she must step down from her position as a county clerk for she is incapable of maintaining the separation of church and state.

This Q-pinion article was written by a gay-identifying, cis-male, pansexual, of mixed (English, Métis, Icelandic, Scottish, and Irish) ethnic background, Caucasian in appearance, of a middle income bracket, and was gender non-conforming in youth.

Q-pinion: Ally Donor Clinic – an MSM Policy Awareness event.

q-pinion-bannerOn Monday, August 24th, 2015, Pride Winnipeg will be holding an Ally Donor Clinic as means to raise awareness about Canada’s MSM Policy, to discuss upcoming changes to the policy, and to collect blood for those in need.

Upon reading this, some of you may have scoffed in disgust at the idea of someone recruiting another person to donate blood for them, despite the fact they may be otherwise perfectly eligible to donate – and that’s just the point! It is ridiculous to think that in our society (with all of our medical and technological advances) that we are still faced with such a broad, sweeping generalization of men who have had sex with another man, at any point in the last five years, that they must recruit an ally who can donate blood on their behalf. However, this is where history, science, statistics, and human behaviour come to a crossroads.

Now, to be clear, Pride Winnipeg does not support the MSM policy. In fact, Pride Winnipeg has been working with Canadian Blood Services since 2012 to create MSM policy change. That change finally came in 2013 with the lifetime ban being lifted and replaced with a five-year deferral period. The change was bittersweet for many. On one hand Canadians were provided with a small step forward, yet on the other many in the LGBTTQ* community still felt discriminated against by Health Canada through Canadian Blood Services.

Many continue to ask questions about “why this policy still exists;” “isn’t all the blood tested;” “why isn’t it based on behaviour;” etc. Most of these questions come from a very passionate group whom are yearning for change overnight. Some of these so very passionate people may not have even been around for the Krever Commission into the Canadian Red Cross blood taint scandal in the late 80’s – one of the primary reasons that the MSM policy exists today.

For those that are unaware, it was revealed that between 1986 and 1990 the Canadian Red Cross had supplied tainted blood to patients, infecting more than 1,100 Canadians with HIV. In the earliest years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, there were no reliable tests for the virus, which therefore justified blanket bans on blood donations from groups at high-risk of acquiring or having HIV (such as MSM). Since that time many advances have been made and extensive scientific and epidemiologic studies have been performed surrounding the MSM policy. Today, point-of-care tests are available at health clinics to detect if HIV antibodies are present in a person on the spot. Unfortunately, there are still setbacks and downfalls.

Despite point-of-care tests and the sophisticated technology used by Canadian Blood Services, there is still no way to detect HIV in blood without the HIV antibodies being produced. The period in which HIV antibodies are not produced can be anywhere from two weeks to six months (most studies indicate the HIV antibodies are, majority of the time, detectable after two weeks).

Some would then immediately cry out for the deferral period to be changed to two weeks or for blood to be held for two weeks and then tested. Sounds logical, but the problem with both is that there is always the potential for the HIV antibodies to not show up, up to a maximum of three months. In addition, holding the blood for a certain period of time before testing is no good either as the blood stops producing antibodies once it is removed from the body, thus making the tests ineffective.

Numerous studies continue to be performed on the risk associated for HIV entering Canada’s blood supply. Unfortunately, statistics continue to indicate nation-wide that MSM account for the largest proportion of new HIV infections every year. With the history, medical advances, and statistics being taken into account, the MSM policy will not be an overnight change. Canadian Blood Services is regulated by Health Canada, which insists on a screening process that will allow for all possible impacts on the safety of the blood supply to be taken into account.

So where do we go from here?

We continue to advocate. We continue to work with Canadian Blood Services for further research and medical advances. Those that can donate blood must continue to do so as recipients of blood donations should not be affected by any political or personal opinion – blood is needed to save lives. By continuing to work together we can strive for further improvements to the MSM policy in the hope that one day it can be completely eliminated.

Please find an ally that can donate on Monday, August 24th, 2015. Book an appointment by going to www.blood.ca or calling 1-888-236-6283 (walk-ins are welcomed as well). I encourage you to share your donation story and spread MSM policy awareness on social media using the hashtags #allydonor and #itsinyoutogive.

This Q-pinion article was written by a gay-identifying, cis-male, pansexual, of mixed (English, Métis, Icelandic, Scottish, and Irish) ethnic background, Caucasian in appearance, of a middle income bracket, and was gender non-conforming in youth.


2015-fb-post-nextyearPride Winnipeg wishes to thank everyone for their participation and support of the 2015 Pride Winnipeg Festival. We are humbled and overwhelmed by the positive response from the community. This year’s festival saw new records for attendance, media coverage, social media, parade entries, and overall display of Pride in our city.

We would like to thank our 2015 Partners for their gracious support, community organizations for the various events they organized, but most importantly another big thank YOU for supporting and attending Pride. All of us on the Pride Winnipeg team donate countless hours throughout the year to organize the Pride Winnipeg Festival and it is all rewarded when we see the joy in the faces of everyone that attends.

Some quick highlights:

  • We can estimate that we received a record amount of donations through our sticker program. Finances are being finazlied this week.
  • The 2015 Pride Winnipeg Festival was the most attended to date, with an estimated total of 38,000 people.
  • Our official hashtag ‘#pridewpg’ was the top trend in Winnipeg on Sunday
  • Every major media organization in Winnipeg covered the Pride Winnipeg Festival
  • The Parade had the most entries in history – almost 80 entries compared to 52 last year!

Mark your calendars for next year as the Pride Winnipeg Festival will resume to its regular time of Pride Day falling on the first Sunday in June: May 27 – June 5th, 2016. The Pride Winnipeg team will begin planning for the 2016 Festival in a few weeks. If you’re interested in joining us please submit a resume to hr@pridewinnipeg.com.

From all of us at Pride Winnipeg, thank YOU and see you next year!



Pride Winnipeg Debuts the Evolution Exhibit

Update: The Pride Evolution Exhibit is currently on display at the Millennium Library in Downtown Winnipeg until May 25th.

Pride Winnipeg Evolution exhibit at Manitoba Hydro.

Today in the gallery of Manitoba Hydro Place, Pride Winnipeg revealed the Evolution Exhibit. The exhibit contains a timeline of the evolution of LGBTTQ* rights in Canada, starting from the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969 to the present day struggles of transphobia.

This year’s theme for the 2015 Pride Winnipeg Festival is Evolution. The theme was chosen to highlight the evolution of human rights with a focus on LGBTTQ* rights here in Canada and abroad. One of the objectives with this year’s theme is to promote education and awareness around LGBTTQ* history and major milestones.

To assist with this objective Pride Winnipeg has created an exhibit that will showcase one of the core activities involved with LGBTTQ* rights, The Pride Movement. Since its inception with the 1969 Stonewall Riot (the birth of the Gay Liberation Movement) Pride has played a pivotal role in promoting LGBTTQ* rights and freedom. This exhibit will contain the history of the Pride movement in an effort to answer a question that is asked all the time “Why Do You Need a Parade?”

Pride Winnipeg will also be raising money with the exhibit to sponsor a LGBTTQ* refugee. Through the “Rainbow-Tie Campaign” people may purchase a rainbow paper bow-tie for $2.00 and take a selfie and post it to social media with the tags #pridewpg and #rainbow-tie.

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The 2015 Pride Winnipeg Festival will take place from June 5 – 14, 2015. During this time various community activities will be held across Winnipeg. The Pride Festival at The Forks takes place from June 13 – 14. Pride Day, the day of the Rally, Parade, Festival at The Forks and Closing Party, is June 14.

The full media release can be found here.

Current Schedule:
Millennium Library, Main Floor (near elevators).
Other locations TBA.

Jane’s Walk: LGBTTQ* Historical Walk

Jane's Walk Route

Come on out and walk, talk, and connect as we visit some of Winnipeg’s LGBTTQ* past.

On Saturday May 2nd, beginning at Noon, Chad Smith from Pride Winnipeg and Mike Tutthill from the Rainbow Resource Centre will lead a Jane’s Walk on Winnipeg’s LGBTTQ* community.

The walk will highlight community development that begin in the 1970s in the formation of what is now the Rainbow Resource Centre and highlight places such as “The Hill”, the impact of HIV/AIDS on the Winnipeg’s LGBTTQ* community, original sites of longstanding (and now gone) queer institutions, such as Gio’s, Happenings, Ms. Purdy’s, and Big Ruby’s, among others. The walk will highlight the work of current organizations in the city, such as Pride Winnipeg, Reel Pride, Klinic Community Health Centre and Nine Circles Community Health Centre, among others. Discussed will be challenges that have been overcome, as well as challenges still being faced within the community.

For more information, please contact Chad.