Showing Pride in Greater Napanee


June has arrived, bringing with it a mix of sunshine and rainbows.

At the time of writing this editorial, the weather was looking great ahead of the June 1 Greater Napanee Pride celebrations. Heading into its third year, the event promised to be bigger than ever.

A few short years ago, attempting to plan such an event in Napanee would have seemed futile. Surely the hate would have squashed down any efforts to bring a celebration of this nature to a rural community, at least one might think. Just getting a flag raised at town hall was a major under taking. Credit to those in the volunteer led Greater Napanee Pride who took the leap as the community has responded in a positive way and all signs are pointing to Pride Month remaining an annual event to kick off the summer.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been negative, vile comments along the way. In the age of social media all it takes is a simple click of a button to ‘anger’ react to show one’s displeasure. Some will even go a step further to take the time to use their thumbs to type out a nasty message. It’s not even necessarily from residents of Napanee. Internet trolls are known to scour social media and spread their ignorance onto event pages for events that are several hundred kilometres away from their location. While they may think they’re proving a point, all they’re really doing is demonstrating why a supportive celebration like a Pride march is necessary. As long as there are people out there willing to condemn another person’s harmless lifestyle, there will be a need for a large visible display of support. That’s particularly true in rural communities where support can be hard to find. A 2021 study found nearly half of LGBTQ youth in rural areas and small towns felt their communities were either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very unaccepting’ of their lifestyle. That’s compared to just over a quarter to those in larger urban areas. These feelings of being ostracized can lead to depression among youth-and much worse.

Fortunately there’s been many positive strides made in the right direction on that front, as evident by the last three Pride festivals here in town.

These festivals aren’t for everyone-and that’s fine as well. Attendance certainly isn’t mandatory-though they are great fun for all ages and backgrounds. Those who’d rather not attend can always find something else to do with their weekend without having to ruin someone’s else’s fun with a hurtful or even at times threatening comment.

Here’s hoping everyone can enjoy a safe and happy Pride Month. A community is always better when all its residents are free to be who they are without fear of persecution.

-Adam Prudhomme

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