Editor’s Letter: Celebrating pride: Living as your authentic self

Charlie Senack poses for a photo at the Proud to be Me gala.
Kitchissippi Times editor Charlie Senack.

By Charlie Senack

Happy summer, Kitchissippi, and happy pride! 

August means the return of Capital Pride festivities which kick off on Aug. 19 with a pride pageant. The celebrations will close with the annual pride parade on Aug. 27. 

Over half of this issue is dedicated towards celebrating local pride and the queer community. 

I and roughly half of KT’s contributors identify as part of the LGBTQ2S+ community, so working on this project has had a deep, personal connection for many of us.

A question that gets asked a lot is why do we still need pride? The news headlines speak for themselves. Hate-motivated incidents in Ottawa have seen a 23.5 per cent increase this year according to police, with the LGBTQ2S+ community being targeted over 30 times in the first six months. 

Anti “gender ideology” demonstrations have been held outside local schools, and drag events have been swarmed by protesters who chant transphobic and homophobic remarks. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the rise in LGBTQ2S+ hate during a pride flag-raising ceremony on Parliament Hill in June. “It’s been difficult to watch people and institutions still continue to reject who you are, to try to deny members of our communities the rights to be seen and heard and celebrated,” he said. 

And it’s been difficult for members of the community to watch as well. We hope to educate readers on some of the areas that are often misunderstood, but we also look at how far society has come. It’s hard to believe a federal law on same sex marriage only came into effect in 2005.  

For this issue of the paper I sat down with Laura Porter and her wife Mylène Côté, owners of Westboro’s Cupcake Lounge, to talk about their pride flag sugar cookies. A fun fact: there are over 22 different pride flags, each representing a different part of the community. 

Gabrielle Huston had the chance to interview the owner of Hintonburg’s Hello Dolly Pastries which prides itself on being ‘neurodivergent and queer all year.’ This is a fascinating and informative piece on why LGBTQ2S+ members are more likely to be neurodivergent.

Bradley Turcotte profiled a variety of LGBTQ2S+ sports teams that offer a safe space for queer individuals to make friendships and participate in basketball, volleyball, hockey, and more.

I also had the chance to sit down with former Ottawa mayor Jim Watson for his first in-depth interview since leaving office. We spoke about him coming out in 2019 and what life looks like  after politics. Watson also opened up about an illness he’s been dealing with. 

In other news Simpson Hopkins tells us about a controversial new development proposed for Parkdale and Wellington. The Minto highrise proposal is set to go to the Ontario Land Tribunal later this month.

In GIVING, Daria Maystruk visited the gardens of Kitchissippi residents to learn about the impacts of climate change and inflation on what they grow.

And in our Seniors section, Elissa Mendes writes about Westboro resident Brock Carlton who isn’t letting a Parkinson’s diagnosis prevent him from living an active life.

We hope you enjoy this colourful, jam-packed issue. Love is love!

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