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Rebellious Queers Plan Week-long Anti-Corporate Alternative to Pride

by Kaley Kennedy

Photo by Andrew Jantzen.
Photo by Andrew Jantzen.

A version of this article first appeared in Wayves Magazine. This article uses the singular, gender-neutral pronoun “they” and refers to cis gender people, meaning those people whose sex and gender are mostly aligned.

Following in the steps of other cities, Halifax is holding an alternative, anti-corporate queer pride week, dubbed Queer and Rebel Days. The week kicked off Friday with a picnic in Point Pleasant Park.

“Queer and Rebel Days is a grassroots, DIY, anti-corporate alternative to Pride that provides anti-oppressive and safe spaces to people of all ages, gender, and sexualities. It is a drug- and alcohol-free week of events that focuses on education, skill sharing, and community building,” reads the Queer and Rebel Days mission statement.

The decision to organize the week came out of discussions around organizing Halifax's second Dyke and Trans March and an interest to create other alternatives to Pride, says Shay Enxuga, one of the organizers of Queer and Rebel Days. The first Queer and Rebel Days was held in 2009. Many of the organizers this time around attended events for the 2009 week and were interested in holding similar events this year. Several other cities, including Toronto and Montreal hold similar alternative Pride events just before or just after mainstream Pride weeks.

“Queer and Rebel Days is a response to Halifax Pride. recognizing that the events of Halifax Pride have a specific focus that privileges certain members of the queer community, being white, cis* men,” Enxuga adds. “[We're] trying to create a space for other people, for people of colour, for trans people, for people with disabilities, for cis women and queer women, for people who might not feel comfortable or represented in a lot of the events happening at Pride.”

Enxuga adds that the intention is for Queer and Rebel days to go along with Pride. The events are scheduled before Pride to ensure that people who are interested can attend both sets of events. The schedule for the week includes everything from discussions on labels in the queer community to a queer bike repair workshop and ride, and a letter writing event. All events are free, and are open to people of all ages.

“I think the aim of Queer and Rebel Days is is to create a space that is safe, but also educational and political. I hope people will come because they want to learn and connect with other people. I want it to be fun, but I also really want it also to build a strong sense of queer community in Halifax,” says Enxuga.

Enxuga explains that personally, they see the need for a queer community that questions how we understand ourselves in terms of gender and sexuality and is really supportive of queer people of colour, queer people living in poverty, trans people, women, queer people in prison, and other marginalised members of the queer community.

So far, response to the week has been positive, but Enxuga encourages people to come out to events and get involved with organising, even if they are critical of the week.

“[We should be] really focussing on the most marginalized members of our communities and supporting them, and I don't think there is a lot of representation of those people within the Halifax gay scene and Halifax Pride,” says Enxuga.

The full schedule of events is available here.

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