Surrey Pride will be held from Jul 7-9 this year, but without long-time events coordinator Martin Rooney at the helm.
Rooney, a founding member of Out in Surrey (OIS) which has evolved in the past six years into the Out in Surrey Rainbow Society, resigned from his position saying the organization is not going in the direction it ought to. But Rooney refuses to get specific about what direction the should be, or any issues involving the society’s leadership.
Board member Mel Gill, a past president of the society, says no one has been selected to replace Rooney, and a number of people are now “pitching in” to handle event coordination duties including sponsorship solicitation and venue location.
Gill is equally tight-lipped about any conflict within the society and Rooney’s resignation but says, like those in other organizations, the queer community doesn’t always see eye to eye, and everyone has a right to decide to take a break.
“A lot goes on in the community in general. Things change,” says Gill. “Rooney’s resignation was a personal decision. There are ideas about where any organization should go. You find people are discussion things, what needs to be changed, and not all the times [does] it go the way people want, but there is a majority vote.”
Gill says the organization in Surrey is unique because “we’re now where Vancouver was a number of years ago.” There’s not a lot going on in the Valley, he adds, but there’s a lot of diversity and this always makes it difficult to deal with a community that is still segregated.”