All Muskoka Communities Show Support For LGBTQ+ Community

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2020 Muskoka Pride Week is Socially Distances..but still Fabulous!
Once again, all of the communities in Muskoka have raised the Rainbow Pride flag in celebration of Muskoka Pride Week,
which runs July 18 – 26.

The Townships of Muskoka Lakes, Georgian Bay, and Lake of Bays, Wahta First Nation, and the towns of Huntsville, Bracebridge, and Gravenhurst all raised the flag again this
year.

The ceremonies were attended by fewer people than in years past, in an effort to minimize gatherings, and everyone was wearing face masks. All ceremonies were livestreamed
to the Muskoka Pride Facebook page to further limit the number of attendees. All mayors and members of Council extended their best wishes for a successful and unique week of Pride events.

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith expressed his pleasure in raising the Rainbow Pride flag during this unusual year. Mayor Smith said that he was sad there is no parade or
picnic this year, but thanked the Pride organizers for their perseverance in continuing to celebrate diversity in the community. He said the flag raising signifies that Bracebridge
“celebrates diversity, and we want to be as welcoming a community as we can.”

Mayor Smith said to those who gathered that “Bracebridge celebrates all of you,” and that, “we will be here this year, next year, and every year after that.”

In Gravenhurst, Deputy-Mayor Graeme Murray welcomed the small group on behalf of the Town of Gravenhurst. He recognized Muskoka Pride ,“For the work that you do and
education you provide for all of our community members, and showing us how important it is to participate and engage with our communities.”

The Rainbow Flag symbolizes the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community with the many colours representing the diverse community.

For Merv Taylor-Morin, President of Muskoka Pride, the flag raisings are a symbol of acceptance of the LGBTQ+ population of Muskoka. “It says to the people in Muskoka
that our community is diverse and inclusive, an important message for residents and visitors.”

He stressed the need for the flag raising’s visibility within Muskoka. “It’s important for all people to see it and know that they’re welcome in their own communities.”

“It is significant that all communities of Muskoka are once again recognizing the Muskoka Pride Festival this year,” says board member Shawn Forth, “because there are LGBTQ+ residents all over Muskoka, who want to feel supported by their town.”

Having grown up in Muskoka, he understands the feeling of isolation that comes with thinking you are alone. “Visibility is important for the LGBTQ+ community so that you don’t feel isolated. LGBTQ+ Pride is not just about tolerance and acceptance – it’s about celebrating the rich diversity in our community.”

This year’s Pride Week theme is “Socially distanced…but still Fabulous!” which reflects the efforts made by the planning committee to ensure safety, while providing a mixture of both virtual and in-person socially distanced events.

Everyone, no matter how you identify, is welcome to attend all Muskoka Pride events. Muskoka Pride receives funding from the Government of Canada through the Local Festivals – Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage grant.

We would like to thank our 2020 Signature Sponsors: TD Bank, Walmart Canada, Bala Cranberry Festival

To see a full schedule of events go to www.muskokapride.com or click “Events” on the Muskoka Pride Facebook Page.

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