In part two of our three-part series on Capital Pride, community advisory committee (CAC) members discuss community concerns and what they bring to the table.
Amanda Ryan is a trans rights activist.
On community criticism of the new Capital Pride: “I see so much of that in the trans community as well, with just everybody settling into their own little corner of any community and only looking at what they can do for themselves. We need to look at what everyone can do for everyone. The more we stick together as a large group and work together on accomplishing a major goal, then all the little goals will happen at the same time. So, let’s focus on the big picture and let’s try to get this done. We have a very short period of time to get everything done. It can be done and ultimately everybody will benefit.”
Lori Peever, who works with the municipal diversity inclusion committee, is also knowledgeable about city bylaws and zoning.
On the festival’s tight timeline: “I think it’s a huge challenge, but I think it’s doable.”
Wendy Denley is a website developer who started Dorothy’s Closet, a website with local queer events and resources.
On joining the CAC: “This was the most constructive, accountable initiative that was going. There wasn’t a lot of anything else going, other than bankruptcy, so it makes me sad to hear the negative [comments], but then when the more silent people were speaking up and then became the majority, then I felt motivated again.”
Sarah Orovan, a former Capital Pride volunteer and board member, has helped to plan Dyke March for the past two years. She has a background in policy, leisure, recreation and city planning.
On Pride no longer being membership-based: “I actually think that it’s more efficient this way because there are venues still for members of our community to contribute, but before I found it was a very negative space when the membership came together. They didn’t ever focus on the positive when you went to any of the meetings. Hopefully with this method we’ll try to deal with the individual comments offline so we can try to make sure that they’re all happy before it spawns off into a negative space.”
On criticisms the CAC is secretive and exclusionary: “I can understand — a lot of my friends were confused about what was going on — but once we tell people that it was just because it was put together really quickly and we needed to get the people who knew how to get things done and who had the time to do it as well and get those people together and move it, they’re like, ‘OK.’ I think it’s a matter of educating people to let them know it’s not a conspiracy. We didn’t hold back any information. It’s just that it happened so quickly because we don’t have a lot of time to put this together.”
Sébastien Plante is a Velvet Studio radio host, founder of Geek Out! Ottawa and a PhD student. He helped to translate the Pride guide last year.
Using his linguistics background to help write Capital Pride’s bylaws: “You know when you hear about court cases where somebody loses a million dollars because they use ‘the,’ when they should have used ‘a?’ That’s why I’m there. I’m the pair of eyes to make sure [that doesn’t happen] and also to make sure it doesn’t read like a government document, that people who are not trained in reading documents can also read them.”
On charges Capital Pride will be corporate and boring: “Disneyland is corporate. Canada’s Wonderland, that’s corporate. Corporate being boring, I think, is a massive oversight . . . if in your bylaws it’s about inclusion and fun and excitement and all that, then so be it, it’s guaranteed to happen because otherwise you violate your mandate.”
Andrew Giguère, 24, is an arts administrator, a board member for Jeunesse Idem in Gatineau, helps Plante run Geek Out! Ottawa and volunteered with Capital Pride in 2014 as a francophone coordinator.
On community criticisms: “I get the feeling that the negativity is sort of an anonymous Internet negativity. In reality, I feel like the community is supporting [Capital Pride] as long as it’s clean, well run and everything is going smoothly — and it is going smoothly. Honestly, just from behind the scenes, it is actually going well. We’ve received a lot of resumes [for paid and volunteer positions].”
Pride’s tight timeline: “Honestly, because I’m the board guy, I’m anxious. I want to see how it’s run and I want to see the money and the sponsors and the community all collate into one spot. It’s going to be a good festival.”
Bill Staubi has been involved with PTS, Bruce House and the Ottawa Senior Pride Network. He’s also a past financial contributor to Pride.
On naysayers: “The folks who are naysayers, I would probably say give it a chance. The folks who have stepped forward to put together this initiative are trying to serve the community. We’re trying to do something for everyone. As Tammy [Dopson] explained, it’s hard to include everyone and move quickly, so give us a chance to prove that we’re sincere and we’re on the right track.”
George Hartsgrove, a local mortgage agent, marched in Ottawa’s first Pride celebration, opened the city’s first queer-friendly bed and breakfast and won Capital Xtra’s Lifetime Achievement award in 2010.
Encouraging others to volunteer for Pride: “Everybody should do their part. Usually there’s just a few people who do a lot of the work. This is the year that a lot of people can share the work and it’ll all happen.”