Stefany Harris/The Oshawa Express
Durham’s youth who identify as LGBTQ+ are going to be loud and proud this week.
Youth Pride in Durham is back for its second annual event on June 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Sinclair Secondary School in Whitby.
The entire community is welcome to attend the event that includes an information village featuring 30 youth-serving community organizations and a photo booth.
The headline entertainer is singer-songwriter T. Thomason. Born in England, but a native of Nova Scotia, Thomason recently became a selected artist on CTV’s The Launch and released a new song called ‘Hope.’
Returning this year are drag queens Wilma Checklear, Jada Hudson and Sofonda.
“While the focus is on having a great day of entertainment and fun, it is ultimately about a community coming together to support young people,” says Andrea Maenza, communications coordinator for the Durham Children’s Aid Society. “These are youth who may feel they have no one to reach out to. This event is for them – so they can see how many people are here to support them, and to hear from organizations that are welcoming, safe spaces.”
Durham CAS has recognized Pride Month for the past 12 years.
Events have focused on educational and celebratory initiatives for staff, and for the youth served by CAS. Durham CAS has also participated in several Durham Pride events over the years including the parade and festival.
This year Durham CAS expanded its efforts and reached out to community partners who collaborated to launch Youth Pride. The event is an addition to Pride Week, providing an event specifically for youth.
Youth Pride is presented by 10 community partners including Ajax Public Library, Carea Community Health Centre, City of Oshawa, Durham Children’s Aid Foundation, Durham Children’s Aid Society, Durham College, Durham Region Police Service, Durham District School Board, PFLAG Canada and Pride Durham.
“Our goal is to embrace, engage and empower LGBTQ+ youth, their family and allies,” says Maenza.