Ottawa
2 min

Forever young

Pride aims to bridge the generation gap

SOLIDARITY & BELONGING. Jordan Kent says youth have come a long way from the homophobia of the last generation, but a lot of work remains. Credit: Rob Thomas

There is a real gap between how the older and younger generations feel about being part of their community, says Youth Pride Coordinator Jordan Kent.



Bridging that gap is one aim of the activities she has helped organize for Pride’s second annual celebration of youth.



“We wanted to have events – whether or not there was alcohol available – we wanted to have them youth-friendly, so that people who don’t drink can go in and have a good time,” says Kent. “And people who might otherwise be carded can go to these events and still feel a part of the community.”



Although the energy and approach may be the same, Kent has jigged the format a little this year. Rather than have one youth day, this year’s celebrations encompass several events organized throughout Pride Week, dubbed Generation Sensation.



Kent hopes young adults between the ages of 14 and 25 will participate but emphasizes that all are welcome.



“If older people want to come to the events, then that is fine,” she adds.



Kent coordinated last year’s Youth Day and emphasizes that, like last year, these activities are not chaperoned school dances.



“We wanted to have hot, fun, crazy events for younger queers – and also focus on keeping prices lower – that was something that we carried over from last year,” says Kent.



Events include a coffee and tea tasting, a dance party and movie night and an art project presentation at the Pride street party.



“We had people coming up to us all through the year, saying that it was really fun and asking us if we were going to do the same things. We’re not. We want to do things a little differently this year,” Kent explains.



“It’s just to spice things up and do it a little differently. Last year was our first year doing it and we came late onto the committee. This year we had time. It’s going to be bigger and better and that’s why we’ve changed it.”



Although the obvious focus is celebrating Pride, youth and having fun, Kent is very conscious of the important of making a place for young people in Pride celebrations.



“More and more people are coming out younger and younger – as you can see everywhere – so it is really important for them to have that sense of belonging,” says Kent. “There is an idea that we’ve come a long way from the homophobia of the last generation and we have, but there is still more to work on.”



Kent believes that young people all benefit from a sense of community and a sense of solidarity.



“Obviously it can’t work because of liquor licenses, but ideally I would like to see every event welcome youth,” she says.



* For more on Youth Pride events, see Capital Xtra’s Ultimate Pride Guide.