49 Lives lost to hate. Regardless of their gender or sexual orientation they all felt that a club catering to the LGBTQ community was a safe space. We mourn for our extended family.
We were all very excited to announce a myriad of celebratory activities Reelout is engaged with over the next two weeks. And then came the horrific news from Orlando. We at Reelout wish to send all our love to the victims and the family and friends they leave behind. Over the next ten days, we are meant to celebrate and rejoice but for most of us, the very idea seems somehow inappropriate or insensitive. It is vital that you mourn. It is vital that you get angry. It is vital that you don’t suffer alone — and there are plenty of opportunities to feel a part of the community beginning this weekend. You will be surrounded by people who are feeling just as you are. Don’t feel the need to put on a happy face. Don’t feel the need to laugh and sing and dance. Don’t begrudge those people who are smiling, laughing, singing and dancing because they are all grieving on the inside. Don’t interpret celebration as an act of disrespect. In many cultures, celebration over death is a crucial part of the healing process. At the same time, nobody will fault you for demonstrating your grief we are gathering to support one another and your feelings are your own.
Lastly, there is significance to this latest tragedy and the event that motivated the Pride movement. Despite what the latest Hollywood film on Stonewall depicted, the riots in front of the Stonewall Inn in NYC were spurred due to the consistent brutalization of queer-identifed people of colour. Every year we gather to mourn the loss of transgender lives due to violence and the overwhelming majority of these victims are/were Latinx (a gender neutral term for Latino/Latina), and/or Black. Straight allies should be upset, should mourn and should stand in solidarity. LGBTQ white people should be upset, should mourn and should stand in solidarity. We should all also recognize that in addition to daily oppression for their sexual orientation or gender that QPOC (Queer People of Colour) also endure daily oppression due to racism. Be mindful of this fact as we all move forward together. Recognize how you can do your part in letting QPOC’s voices be heard over your own. It doesn’t have to diminish your own sense of grief or your sense of ownership over this tragedy. Just be conscientious that there is much larger system of oppression that ensures that these tragedies will continue to inflict people of colour. This is not a coincidence.
Here are some resources:
- How White People Can be Inclusive of People of Colour
- How Allies Can Show Up For the Queer Community
Kingston Pride festivities have already begun. However this weekend is really where they heat up. Some have been organized by the NEW AND IMPROVED Kingston Pride Committee (important to note this is a small but dedicated committee that is striving for a more inclusive community) and some events organized by other groups in celebrating of Pride. A list of Kingston Pride Inc. -organized events is available online. For a FULL list of LGBTQ related events please visit our friends at OUT/IN who have a handy-dandy calendar of events.
Saturday June 18th – DAY TIME
- 9am: Flag Raising at Flora MacDonald Confederation Basin (Located in front of City Hall 216 Ontario St)
- 10am: Village Fair Opens – Vendors and Information Tables, Live Performances, Local Bands, and a Silent Auction – City Park (Barrie St. and Bagot St.)
- Noon: Parade leaves City Park (map of route)
- 1pm-4pm: Village Fair in City Park Continues with community organizations and live music.
Saturday June 18th – NIGHT TIME
- 6:30pm: Boarding for Rainbow Cruise 2016 commences! Details on this event and where to get tickets online or at HARS (844A Princess St) can be found on the OUT/IN website.
- 10pm: Fortified with Pride – Fort Henry 1 Forty Henry Drive 10PM to 2AM – View the event on Facebook
- 10pm: BEERS FOR QUEERS at Monte’s Lounge in the Tir Nan Og (200 Ontario St.)
Friday June 24th – NIGHT TIME – 7pm-10pm
Skeleton Park Arts Festival, Reelout and Kingston Pride are happy to collaborate on this evening of music and film featuring Kingston’s own KRIS + DEE followed by Rae Spoon. After the concert, there will be an excellent documentary about Rae Spoon. Hope to see you there! All the details and more info on Skeleton Park Arts Festival can be found on the festival’s website.
Saturday June 25th – DAY TIME – All Day
Reelout will be at the all-day concert in Skeleton Park (McBurney Park if you’re google mapping). We will be hosting local drag queens at our 2nd DRAG QUEEN STORY TIME from 1pm to 2pm and yes, this is for children young and old but primarily YOUNG so drag queens will be on their best behaviour (we hope).
Saturday June 25th – NIGHT TIME – 11:30pm-11:30am
Reelout, Kingston Pride, and The Screening Room (120 Princess St) welcome you to crash in the cool confines of a darkened movie theatre for a cinematic sleep-over. We’ll be screening camp classics from 11:30pm to 11:30am. Admission is FREE. See more details on our FB event.