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Sarnia Pride Alliance drawing life from energetic new members

Published on

Tara Jeffrey

When Taylon Leduc moved back home to Sarnia recently, she knew she wanted to get involved with the LGBTQ community.

“I was very active in the LGBTQ community in Kitchener when I lived there, so when I moved back here, I was excited to have a fresh start, and right away made contact with the Sarnia Pride Alliance group,” said Leduc, 34.

But she was crushed to learn the group — launched years ago to provide a support system for members of the LGBTQ community and their families — was at risk of folding due to a lack of volunteers and support.

So she reached out to her partner, Rachel Dawson, who knew the group’s original members, and asked if they could help revive the chapter.

“We didn’t want all their hard work to go to waste — so they lent us the reins so we could take over,” said Dawson, 30. “They were awesome.”

Over the summer, word of mouth quickly spread and the new Sarnia Pride Alliance held its first meeting with about 14 people, hosted by Leduc, Dawson, and fellow leader, 14-year-old Simon Harris, who helped secure a regular meeting space at Grace United Church.

A second meeting was held in September, with plans already in motion for events, fundraisers and more.

“I can’t even believe where we are right now; so many people are reaching out to us with so many dreams,” said Leduc. “Others are saying, ‘I need help coming out to my family’ or ‘I don’t know how to meet people.’

“So they want that support.”

The group has already launched its first contest, inviting the public to submit their own designs for a new logo.

“We need a fresh new face, so what better way to revamp than to have a logo contest and let the community put their vision out there,” said Leduc, noting people can vote online for the winner.

Organizers hope to march in future parades and team up with other community groups like PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) a group launched 25 years ago in Sarnia, and Rebound’s Spectrum program, for LGBTQ2SQ youth (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spirited and Questioning).

“We want to make sure we are inclusive and teaming up with other alliances in town so that we come as one combined front — so there’s less confusion and people know there are reliable sources to go to,” said Dawson.

Regular meetings will be held the third Sunday of each month at Grace United Church on Cathcart Blvd., from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (with the exception of the October meeting to be held Oct. 22).

Members of Grace United have already reached out to host a Pride Family Dinner on Oct.15.

“Their idea behind it is that the best way to start a conversation and make connections is over a meal,” said Leduc. “So that’s really exciting for us.”

She stressed that if the group wants to stay viable they need others to step up.

“It can’t just fall on the shoulders of two or three or four of us — we really need the community’s help to make this a success and make it sustainable and lasting.

“We are literally starting from the ground up,” she added. “We are trying to focus just one day at a time, and taking baby steps.

“But we’ve got a lot of big dreams.”

 

For more information, including details about the logo contest and upcoming events, visit the Sarnia Pride Alliance Facebook page, or email [email protected] or call Rachel at 226-349-1265.

 

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