All aboard to support rainbow youth
|By Jennifer Hughey - Contributing writer | May 20, 2016|
When Canadian folk artist Kate Reid shouts “all aboard,” she’s not kidding.
Reid is scheduled to play tunes from her latest album, Queer Across Canada, in Haliburton on Victoria Day weekend. It opens with the blast of a train whistle and what her website calls “an infectious hootenanny vibe”.
It’s the Ayr, Ont., farm girl's fourth album, and her first for families, children and youth.
Reid will be at the Haliburton Curling Club on May 21 in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) rainbow youth in Haliburton County, thanks to a collaboration of local businesses.
Point in Time Centre for Children, Youth and Parents, Baked and Battered, and the Haliburton County Folk Society are all working to bring nationally acclaimed singer/songwriter to the county.
Executive director for Point in Time Marg Cox said she’s excited to welcome Reid to Haliburton.
“We know that this concert not only demonstrates our support for local LGBTQ+ youth, but also promises to be a wonderful evening of entertainment,” Cox said in a press release.
Queer Across Canada is a “collection of ground breaking tracks traverse a wide landscape of family scenarios” and touches on “contemporary realities as surrogate moms, donor dads, same-sex parents, out-of- the-closet fathers, blended families and queer-curious siblings.”
Reid said her goal was to release songs for kids and youth who have LGBTQ parents and families so they could see (and hear) themselves and their families reflected back to them in music.
“Most of the music out there for families is from the perspective of having a mom and a dad, or at least, a "heterosexual family,” Reid said. “For me, the "new normal" means … there are so many different ways to have and build a family, that family is whoever we choose them to be. It's no longer just about blood or marital relations.”
Reid said in LGBTQ circles, family must be redefined because what was "traditional" or "mainstream" has changed.
“It's about deciding for ourselves what our families look like, and not defining ourselves and our families based on some social construct or heterosexualized prescription of what that looks like,” she said.
Co-owner of Baked and Battered Colby Marcellus and his partner Craig Gordon have operated businesses for the past six years and moved to Haliburton permanently four years ago.
“Because we live and work in Haliburton, we believe we have an obligation to support its health and wellbeing,” Marcellus said. He and Gordon both grew up in small towns and experienced firsthand the impact of bullying and isolation because they were perceived as ‘different’.
“It’s important for us to support activities and initiatives that foster in youth a sense of belonging and acceptance – something especially challenging for youth questioning their identities,” he said. “By doing this, we strengthen our community as a whole. We all win.”
She worked for many years as a public school teacher – she has a masters degree from The University of British Columbia's Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice, a bachelor of education from UBC , and a BA from the University of Guelph – and now tours schools, both secondary and post-secondary, teaching writing workshops and performing for students and staff discussing issues like diversity, sexual and gender identity, homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism.
Marcellus said having more programs and initiatives focused on increasing the visibility of LGBTQ+ folks in the community – that foster a sense of safety and connectedness for anyone who may be struggling – would be great.
“From an economic development perspective, a demonstration of the diversity of our region will likely attract newcomers, strengthening our local economy,” he said.
Funds raised from the concert will be directed to local Rainbow Youth programming and to purchasing LGBTQ+ resources for the Haliburton County libraries.
Cox said they are looking forward to a great turn out. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Point in Time, Halco Electronics, Organic Times and through the Haliburton County Folk Society at haliburtonfolk.com.
If you can’t make the concert, Point in Time will be hosting a workshop at their Haliburton location at 730 Mountain Street from 10 to noon. The best part? It’s free for youth.
For more information, please contact Marg Cox at 705-457-5345 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JENNIFER HUGHEY is a contributing writer for The Highlander.