Tea with Pride Royalty, a part of Elk Valley Pride Festival, was held at the Senior Citizens Drop-In Centre on Saturday morning. The event featured two glamorous drag queens and a glamorous drag king. Short documentaries about the performers were shown to coincide with a question and answer period, which included refreshments. Kids face painting was also available.
Sara Funk, President of the Fernie Pride Society, was happy to host another pride festival in Fernie.
“The Fernie Pride Society hosts the Elk Valley Pride Festival every year, but we also have a monthly Beers and Queers event where members of the LGBTQ community can connect with each other and network and make friends,” she said.
“We also have an RCMP Safe Place Program where the RCMP can put stickers in the doorway of businesses to be safe places for LGBTQ individuals. We host an annual holiday event for LGBTQ individuals. We also work with our national organization, on federal initiatives to forward the work of LGBTQ people.”
Funk said the drag queens and drag king were featured on CBC’s Canada’s a Drag documentary series.
“We are going to show the documentary, and then we are going to have a Q & A afterwards,” she said. “Then we are going to have lunch. The United Church is here. They are showing how they’ve just become an affirming congregation, so they can now perform same sex weddings, and we have activities for the kids.”
Andrea Brennan, an Anglican minister, was part of the celebration.
“Anglicans love a good royalty conversation,” she said with a smile. “And the United Church loves a good tea, so this is the perfect combination. The ladies and gentlemen we’ve had here today are just so fabulous. It’s wonderful that our little community can be exposed to so much beauty and love and inclusion and colour and rainbow and fabulousness.”
The intersection of faith and LGBTQ culture is important to Brennan.
“The most important thing to remember is that no matter what anyone has told you, God does not create anything but that which is beautiful,” she explained. “And we are all created in God’s image, whether you are cis, or pan, or trans, or straight, or queer, or anywhere on that spectrum, you are loved just as you are. There is nothing you have to do to change that. God loves everyone. And if it’s not of love, it’s not of God. So if someone says ‘well, I’m a Christian, but I can’t do this, or ‘I love the sinner but hate the sin,’ that’s not of love, and that’s not of God.”
Brennan was thrilled to be a part of the Elk Valley Pride Festival.
“I’m a part of the LGBTQ community,” she explained. “But I’m also part of the community of Fernie and being able to open our doors wider, we now have marriage equality in Fernie with the United Church and with the Anglican Church, so we can marry absolutely anyone who comes to us. It’s fabulous.”
Drag queen Jenna Telz came all the way from Kelowna to attend the festival.
“I’m really excited to see smaller towns celebrate Pride, because it’s not something that always happens,” she said. “What really impressed me is to come to Fernie to see such a close-knit queer community, and see how many resources the Pride community here has come up with, and for a smaller centre, it’s really impressive to see all the support that everyone has.