Smithers Pride Accepting New Members
The Smithers Pride Society is now 16 members strong since opening up membership applications earlier this month.
Smithers Pride Soceity President, Brianna van Donselaar, says becoming an official society at the beginning of summer was liberating, and the hope is other Northerwestern communities will be encouraged to put together a society of their own.
"When I was in Terrace at the River Boat Days, talking to people there it kind of felt like the community didn't have the support, like they weren't being supported by their community enough, at least in Terrace. As for the other communities, it's hard to say, maybe the size."
Society treasurer Sarah Zantingh wonders how different her growing up could have been had she had the support of a pride society, and hopes LGBTQ youth will find the society as a safe haven.
"I think that for me is the biggest thing, is just being able to support our youth and give them this healthy feeling of belonging, just because suicide rates are some of the highest among LGBTQ youth. So just kind of trying to stem that and to just have people realize that they are valued, they are loved and that there's other people in the community that are supporting them."
The Smithers Pride Society became official on June 21st and are the only official pride society west of Prince George. For those looking to become a member, head to https://join.smitherspride.com/ to sign up.
Van Donselaar says members do not have to be residents of Smithers and there is a $20 annual membership fee which goes towards community outreach.