Manitoba Pride was held last week. The organizers of the event won’t allow uniformed law enforcement in the parade, the CBC reports:
Winnipeg police will be invited to march in the city’s Pride parade next weekend, but not in uniform, according to a joint statement by a handful of groups representing the LGBT community.
Pride Winnipeg made the announcement in a joint news release Friday with Queer People of Colour Winnipeg, Two-Spirited People of Manitoba, QueerView Winnipeg and the Like That program at Winnipeg’s Sunshine House.
The decision follows almost a year of consultation with community members and groups about police participation in the event.
“Our ultimate goal is to have a positive and healthy relationship between the police and the LGBTTQ community, and it was clear based on the survey that the community’s not there yet and the Winnipeg Police Service is not there yet,” said Darrel Nadeau, vice-president of governance for Pride Winnipeg.
The organization conducted an online survey of community members that got 600 responses, he said. A third of them described negative encounters with police, citing experiences of mistrust, apathy and prejudice that were especially prevalent among transgender people, two-spirited people and queer people of colour.
The week’s events started with a Two-Spirit powwow, the CBC reports:
The 2017 Pride Winnipeg Festival officially launched Friday with flag raisings at the University of Winnipeg and city hall as well as its first two-spirit powwow at The Forks.
“We wanted to do it because it hasn’t been done before, and we wanted to educate all nations that we do belong in the circle,” said Ryan Richard, who is on the powwow’s organizing committee. “One of our committee members just decided, ‘You know, it’s about time we have one.'”
A crowdfunding campaign and nearly $10,000 later, the festival’s first two-spirit powwow became reality.
The definition of two-spirit sometimes varies, but it’s essentially an umbrella term used by some Indigenous people to describe gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender members of their community.
2-spirited Indigenous people: opening up the conversation
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Richard said the reception from the Indigenous and LGBT community has been incredibly positive and something he hadn’t initially expected.
“They’re being really accepting about it and that’s another good thing. I think it’s because there’s so much of us out there that are bringing themselves out there more,” he said. “We just want a safe space to express ourselves through dance.”
Friday’s powwow runs from 1:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with grand entries at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. In between, there will be a two-spirit dance competition, hoop dancing and other exhibitions.
There was also a vigil to honor those lost to anti-LGBTQ violence, the CBC reports:
With a candle in hand, members of Winnipeg’s LGBT community gathered to honour the lives lost in their community Sunday night.
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Shandi Strong, a Winnipeg trans activist, helped organize the Pride vigil at the Manitoba Legislature.
She said while violence against LGBT people in Manitoba is rare it’s not unheard of and always unsettling.
“We go OK, is today going to be the day that I step out my door and face something like that?
“It’s something that keeps us all vigilant.”
The case of missing Pride flags in Decorah appears to have been solved, the North Iowa Today reports:
Gay pride flags were stolen recently in Decorah, but alleged apologies have been given by a teen boy.
The Decorah Police Department reported this week that they received numerous reports of Gay Pride flags stolen from homes around town over the weekend. “It is appearing obvious the person(s) involved dislike what these flags represent and these thefts reflect a negative image on our community,” police said in a statement. They also made it cleat that they were investigating, and possible charges of fifth-degree theft would be brought if the culprits were caught.
Just days later, some Decorah residents are posting to social media that a high school boy has come forward and approached some of the victims in this case and apologized. Decorah resident Jeni Holtan Grouws, who is the station manager at KDEC FM, claims “a high school boy going around apologizing for what he and his buddies did last night. It has been bothering him all day and he is going around personally making amends to each family. On top of that, he is planning on picking up the flags from Letterwerks and paying for them to replace each family’s missing flag.”
The ACLU and Newton High School have reached an agreement over the silencing of a transgender student’s speech, the Newton Daily News reports:
A Newton High School student was asked to wash “love trumps hate” off his arm last November, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa to defend the student and demand action from the Newton Community School District.
Through a press release this week, the ACLU said NHS apologized to the student and pledged to train teachers on First Amendment rights of students and civil rights protections for transgender students under Iowa law.
According to the ACLU, a period of “cooperative negotiation” successfully resolved the matter.
The transgender student who wrote the message on his arm was told by his physical education teacher to stop writing on himself. The teacher also called the student “girl” even after another student spoke up to remind the teacher that the student identifies as a boy, the ACLU said.
“The student was then taken to the assistant principal’s office, where he was told students shouldn’t discuss politics at school. He was given the option of being sent home for the day or washing off his arm, so he washed it off,” reads a statement by the ACLU.
The ACLU gave a list of demands to the NCSD in February and wrote that the student’s message “was one of love and acceptance and protected by the First Amendment.”