Residents are encouraged to create their own video about LGBTQ life in rural Ontario
Popular thinking says that it’s much easier to be openly gay in larger cities like Toronto than in smaller communities like Muskoka. Larger cities have more services and businesses that cater to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community.
If that is true, then why is there such a large LGBTQ population in Muskoka and other rural Ontario communities? That is the question that Muskoka Pride wanted to explore.
Muskoka Pride has launched a video series on its YouTube channel called “Rural Pride Stories” that asks LGBTQ Muskokans to talk about their experiences living, working, and growing up in rural Ontario. To launch the series, four videos were created, with more to come over the next several months.
In one video, Midland resident Jason Jones recounts an experience from high school, in which a classmate committed suicide because he was thought to be gay by others. “It was horrible. It certainly made me not want to tell anyone about my feelings that were coming out at that point,” Jason explains in his video.
Bracebridge resident Shawn Forth reflects on the unspoken rules of being an openly gay teacher – do not talk about your personal life at work. In his video he explains, ``Living in a small town, it is difficult because you are in the public eye. I don`t want people to think that I`m ashamed of being gay, but I don`t want to be seen as pushing an agenda. Kids need to see role models of people living their life as LGBT.”
In their video, married couple John and Merv Taylor-Morin, discuss the differences in retired life between Ottawa and Muskoka. “I actually know more gay people here in Muskoka than I did in Ottawa,” explains Merv in the video that the couple made together.
Muskoka Pride will be recording more videos for this series at the 6th annual Muskoka Pride Picnic which is being held at Annie Williams Park in Bracebridge, on July 27th from noon to 4:00pm.
Residents of Muskoka – those who identify as LGBTQ as well as Allies (straight-identifying supporters) – are encouraged to create their own video about LGBTQ experiences living in rural Ontario. If you create a video, upload it to your favourite video-streaming site (YouTube, Vimeo, among others) and email a link to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Muskoka Pride will continue posting videos on Twitter and Facebook, and using the hashtag #RuralPrideStories .
To see the full series of videos, go to www.muskokapride.com/ruralpridestories or www.youtube.com/muskokapride