Kootenay Pride Coordinator talks 2020 festivities, violence and growth

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[Image (Pride 2019) previously submitted by Kootenay Pride; Photo Credit: Jamie Srigley]

The EZ Rock Newsroom caught up with Coordinator Stephanie Wiggins following this year’s Kootenay Pride festivities.

She says Kootenay Pride 2020 saw a much smaller turnout than year's prior, but it's given them a few ideas for next year's 25th anniversary.

For example, she says the car wash was an absolute hit and received plenty of positive feedback.

Statistics Canada shows LGBTQ2S+ members are almost three times more likely to experience sexual or physical assault, and a 2018 survey shows 11% of gay, lesbian and transgendered people said they have been sexually or physically assaulted in the 12 months prior.

We asked Wiggins if violence is still a problem in communities she’d consider to be more accepting, like Nelson.

She says violence might be less common that in larger city centres but it's still prevalent, adding there were even instances that occurred through Labor Day weekend that she’s aware of.

Wiggins says one thing she finds particularly upsetting is when community members are being abusive to other community members, adding it often has to do with being abusive towards transgendered people.

Wiggins is also a local sexual health educator currently in the process of launching her own business focused on sexual health education, gender education, rights and advocacy.

She says adults need to be re-learning about themselves and re-learning consent, adding parents need to be analyzing and questioning narratives to let their children be more free and accepting.

Trans Connect provided by ANKORS is one program she recommends for gender non-conforming people needing resources, doctors and financial support.

Under the Umbrella is another local program she recommends for youth.