Almost immediately after North Bay Pride’s three-day virtual event wrapped up in September, plans for a holiday event soon began to take shape.
“We pulled off North Bay Pride, how hard could this be?” said Jason Maclennan, Media Coordinator for North Bay Pride.
The “Pride in Holidays” event will take place on December 23 on Facebook. It will feature an array of video messages from various people highlighting the importance of mental health during the holiday season.
“The idea is just to remind people that they’re not alone and it’s okay to reach out for mental health support,” Maclennan explained.
For the 2SLGBTQ+ community, Maclennan says the holidays aren’t always a happy time.
“Every year around the holidays, suicide rates go up. People struggle to get through them because they feel alone, or they have been disowned by their family,” Maclennan noted.
An appearance from Pride headliner, Bif Naked has already been confirmed for the virtual event. Maclennan says the musician has recorded a message about mental health and sexuality.
“I think what we need to do around mental health and sexuality is normalize it because we just don’t seem to do that,” Maclennan said, adding there will be more messages from well-known and unknown people alike.
Clifford Hummel, CEO of North Bay Pride says it was an easy decision for the organization to hold an event outside its usual designated weekend.
“This year, we recognize that people are struggling especially with their mental health for so many reasons. Jason came to us and said, ‘let’s do something to remind folks they are not alone’, and here we are,” Hummel stated.
And the event will not be exclusive to North Bay, as Pride committees from across the country will be sharing the event through their respective channels as was the case with the three-day weekend in September.
“They see the value in it. I didn’t ask for money or anything,” Maclennan said. “It’s more about the message than it is about the money.”
The 60-to-90-minute virtual event will be available on North Bay Pride’s Facebook page at 7:30 pm on December 23.