26 Signs Your Small Community is Ready for Inclusion
We knew Humboldt was ready for a change within the first hour of setting up our Pride Booth at Humboldt StreetFest.
Last weekend, the Saskatchewan Pride Network had one of the most visible Pride displays Humboldt has ever seen. We were surprised at the diversity of this small Saskatchewan city (population: 5,600) and the wide range of opinions about the first-ever Humboldt Pride Week coming up on September 11 – 18, 2016.
LGBT folks in smaller communities often wonder what their friends, families and neighbours think about them and whether or not it would be safe to come out. In part, we put together this list of our experiences at Humboldt StreetFest to help answer that question.
Whether our experiences were positive or negative, we know that they all indicate that the community is ready to become more LGBT inclusive.
26 Signs Your Small Community Is Ready for Inclusion
1. Young men from the community are happy to pose for a picture with a rainbow flag, saying that they know what it stands for and that they are supportive.
2. The media come talk to you and are excited to help spread the word about your upcoming Pride Week.
3. Event organizers are both welcoming and friendly and ask for a rainbow pin to show their support.
4. People walk by smiling at every booth but refuse to even look at you.
5. Lots of parents and grandparents have no issues with their kids coming to the Pride table to make a button.
6. Some parents and grandparents pull their kids away from your table without explanation.
7. People come to your table just to get a pride button because their gay friend was so proud to get one and show it off.
8. An older white man walks up and is surprised that Pride is in Humboldt. He laughs and takes a pamphlet to show his friends. He tells you that no one in his family is LGBT because if they were, he would kick them out of his family.
9. An older white man walks up to your table and tells you he appreciates your rainbow buttons and that he’s been to Pride celebrations in larger centres.
10. You see an older woman reading over the poster for the Rainbow Coffee Youth Group and explain: “It means everybody has to be treated fairly.”
11. You go to a concert in the evening and you wonder if people will know you’re gay and if they are going to harass you.
12. People tell you out loud that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and pansexual.
13. People with disabilities come talk to you about Pride events and how they can get involved.
14. Teachers come and get Pride buttons and tell you about the relentless homophobic bullying in their schools.
15. You see openly LGBT people and allies volunteering at different tables because they are an integral part of the community.
16. Men living rural areas take a Pride button to show their support, even if they think the Pride Week events are not for them.
17. People walk by, read “Saskatchewan Pride Network” out loud to a friend, scoff and avoid eye contact.
18. People ask what you’re fundraising for and when they find out, dig deep in their pockets and pull out the big bills!
19. Friends and allies welcome you into their homes to save you the cost of hotels.
20. You find out that a couple of food vendors organizers an (out of town) LGBT curling league.
21. Lesbian moms stop by your table and make buttons with their kids.
22. Your neighbouring booths are friendly and supportive, treating you like any other vendor.
23. People come to your table specifically to find out about the upcoming Pride events!
24. People tell you that this was their #1 booth at Humboldt StreetFest.
25. People tell you about trans family members who have been rejected by all other family members.
26. People come and write encouraging messages in chalk around your table about love, being yourself and making it through discrimination.
On the whole, we found that the people we interacted with in Humboldt were actually very supportive of gender & sexual diversity. This gave us confidence and hope that our future events would be supported in the community.
For those that were not supportive, it gave us a sense of how important our work in this community will be over the coming months.