The temperature is slowly dropping and Peterborough is filled with the buzz of student life yet again. It’s that time of the year. Peterborough Pride is fast approaching. Let this article be your guide to all the fabulous events set to make this year’s Pride week one to remember.
Peterborough Pride is quite unique amongst Pride weeks. While Peterborough lacks the urban metropolis to make its pride parade a spectacle like that of Toronto, its small-town feel fosters a tangible sense of community that resonates with all who attend. Make no mistake: Peterborough Pride’s vibrant and diverse display of events parallels its vibrant LGBTQIA2S+ community.
Peterborough Pride celebrates its 16th year with a theme of “Passion + Action = Pride.” Trent’s very own Charleigh Chomko won the T-shirt design contest and you can pick up your official Peterborough Pride T-shirt at You’re Welcome on George street.
Events will run from September 14 to 23. This year, Pride Week will boast over 37 events, topping its event count for Pride Week 2017. With events ranging from potlucks to film screenings to poetry readings to karaoke nights, and of course, the parade itself, Peterborough Pride truly has something for everyone.
Peterborough Pride Week will commence on September 14 at noon with a flag raising ceremony at City Hall that will feature the raising of both the commonly-known Rainbow flag and the Transgender Pride flag. However, one might argue that the real fun begins at 10 p.m that night with Make Ptbo Femme Again — a drag show and dance night taking place at Retro’s e-Sports Bar on Simcoe street. The event will feature performances from three local queens while welcoming two queens from Ottawa and seeks to celebrate “queer performance art [as] a valid form of expression [that] helps to break down the non-existent gender binary that the heteronormative society pretends exist.” Don’t miss out on this drag extravaganza!
The fun continues on the 15th with another dance party, hosted by the Red Dog, starting at 9 p.m. Rainbow Romp will feature DJ Jeffary Fudge spinning both new and old dance tracks that are sure to get everyone moving.
If you’re looking for something a little bit more lowkey, a daytime community building event will be hosted at Retro’s on the following Sunday called Rainbow Rangers. Hosted by You’re Welcome, the event is a daytime community building event with a camp/scouts theme. The Camp Counselors? Drag queens!
Happening at the same time on Sunday September 16 is the annual Drag Queen High Tea taking place at Sadleir House. It will be hosted by two of Peterborough’s very own drag queens, Ms. Glenda Lewis and Ms. Madge Enthat, and will be catered by the Silver Bean Café! Tickets for this event are available online through the Peterborough Pride page.
Other events throughout the week include a series of workshops on Queer Journaling, Queer Podcasting, Queer Comic-making, and Queer Fairy Tale-writing — all of which will take place at Sadleir House from September 17 to 20.
Another can’t-miss event, and a personal favourite of mine, is the Pride Spoken Word Spectacular. Every year this event makes its participants laugh and cry while fostering community-building centered around the sharing of poetry. This year it will feature the talents of Janice Lee and Inali Barger alongside an array of local spoken word artists. It will take place on September 19 at the Sapphire Room on Hunter street with doors opening at 7:30 p.m.
On that same night, the Trent Film Society will also be getting involved by hosting a Pride Film Screening at Market Hall beginning at 8 p.m. The event will feature the film The Old Dark House and a “discussion of queer cinema, monstrosity, feminism, subversion, and how Frankenstein and other movie monsters have found their place in queer cinema and communities.”
Another Trent organization getting involved is Trent Radio who will be broadcasting special Pride-themed content all day long on the 21st. The 12-hour affair will feature “discussions, interviews, explorations and music that will explore themes chosen by the programmers themselves as a celebration of Pride in our community.”
Part of what makes Peterborough Pride so exceptional is the attention paid to intersectionality. Some of the events that highlight the diversity of our community are as follows. On September 21, there will be an educational event at Evans Contemporary in honour of Trans Day of Resiliency. The event runs from 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. and features a film screening, a rally and march, as well as a free community meal.
On the same day, there will be a panel discussion called “Queering Disability and Disabling Queerness – A Panel on Access” hosted at Bagnani Hall from 7-9 p.m. The event seeks to bring queer, disabled folks together to “explore the intersection of two oppressed bodily identities, examining overlaps in experience, conflicts, exclusions, and opportunities for collaboration.”
Later that night, there is a dance party for queer BIPOC at the Venue. The event begins at 10 p.m. and will feature DJ Black Cat, with proceeds going to Peterborough-Nogojiwanong’s local Black Lives Matter chapter. While the event is open to all, it aims to “specifically center and celebrate BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) across the spectrums of gender and sexuality, by means of a wicked good time!”
Finally, the main event takes place on Saturday September 22 as activities begin around 1:30 p.m. and the parade officially commences at 2 p.m. The route heads south on George Street to Sherbrooke Street and then loops east onto Water Street to finish up at the King Street entrance of Millennium Park. All who attend are encouraged to bring friends and family. Following the parade, there will be entertainment, food, information and vendor booths. festivities at Millennium Park.
For more information on Pride events, check out the Peterborough Pride Week event page here.