The Pride is Right: Coming together virtually to celebrate and support the LGBTQ2S+ Community
In this era of COVID-19, with all of the challenges it brings, I still wanted to do my part to contribute to this year’s Pride celebrations in London, Ontario. I wanted to bring members of the community together through inclusive means and support social change (with appropriate physical distancing, of course!). After brainstorming with my colleagues at Lerners, the idea for the Pride is Right trivia contest was born.
I am pleased to announce that $2,500.00 was raised for Y.O.U.‘s Emergency Youth Shelter Food Program and Queer Events‘ Food for Queers program. Both work continuously to alleviate food insecurity in London’s LGBTQ2S+ communities, which have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic. I am also thrilled for the opportunity a local trans youth had with professional hockey player and LGBTQ2S+ ally, Kurtis Gabriel.
To recap, every Wednesday night in July at 7:30 p.m. upwards of 150 people logged onto Zoom for Super Host Adam Crockatt (whom Sawdust Brewery generously made available to me) to lead teams through three rounds of questions; 1) General Nonsense; 2) Name That Tune; and 3) Name That Photo. At the end of each round, Adam provided the answers. There were about 60 questions in total. Teams had to keep track of their answers at home and then email their total score to Adam at the end of the night. Where teams participated from two different locations, a secondary means of communication was required, such as an additional Zoom room. Teams came together from all over Ontario, the United States and even Mexico!
Weekly winners received gift cards for beer, pizza and desserts. The most anticipated weekly prize though was a stick-handling session with Kurtis. The lucky winner was local 10-year old Cullen Kotarba, who with the support of his family, classmates and teammates, recently socially transitioned. My hope for Cullen is that he continues to feel included in hockey, and any other sport he chooses, and that the focus continues to be on his work ethic, skillset, coachability, and what kind of teammate he is, not his gender identity or expression.
Thank you to everybody who participated in the contest, including those who donated to Y.O.U. and Queer Events directly, as well as GREENish, London Brewing Co-op, Sawdust Brewery, Cravings Desserts, and London Mobile Detailing for their support. I was blown away by how successful the event was, the creative genius on display when it came to Zoom backgrounds, and the engagement demonstrated by all the participants each Wednesday night. Let’s do it again next year!
Photos by Jason Plant