Inuit pride becomes an annual tradition

Inuit pride parades are becoming an annual tradition

Across Inuit Nunangat, pride parades in support of the LGBTQ community are becoming an annual tradition in larger Inuit communities.
Inuit communities, such as Rankin Inlet, and Kuujjuaq in northern Quebec, held their pride parades in early June, a new tradition since 2021.

“The first year was very homemade…There were a lot more people than we expected to show up which was great.” said Tobi Nashak, a two-spirit Inuk living in Kuujjuaq and one of the volunteers for the Kuujjuaq Pride celebrations.

“Going into year two and now year three we got a lot more organization support. Especially this year,” said Nashak.

Organized by Positive Space Nunavut, it was well attended, with over 100 people taking part in the parade either in vehicles or on-foot despite the windy conditions.

“I think all over the world people are becoming more accepting just trying to learn about each other. Because of that, it’s coming here into Nunavik communities, into Inuit communities and it’s a lot more accepting. It’s been a lot more accepting, at least now compared to say six years ago,” said Niivi Snowball, a two-spirit youth and fellow Kuujjuaq Pride volunteer.

Snowball added Kuujjuaq Pride’s goal is to help the LGBTQ community feel both represented and safe in their hometown.

“The changes that are happening are that people feel safe, they feel more safe and they feel there’s more chances of them being accepted than not,” they added.

According to Tommy Sequaluk, a gay 31-year-old man living in Kuujjuaq, you could feel the difference between now and a decade ago, and while there still is homophobia out there he says, they are far outnumbered by allies.

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“I’m in my adulthood, I’m in my 30s and to see that for the past three years, it’s been amazing,” said Sequaluk.

For Nashak, who has been out since high school things have gotten better.

“I watched people become progressively more and more accepting. I was one of the first people who started openly identifying as trans at my school, it was kind of isolating but over the past six, five years a lot of people have gotten a lot less nasty about me having an openly trans identity,” said Nashak.

Nashak said becoming two-spirit, has helped him better understand who he is as a person.

“It both helped me understand some internalized things I had with my gender but it also helped me as a mixed native connect me with my culture.”

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