Pride at the QAC

5th Annual Everyone Under the Rainbow 

By Kodie Trahan-Guay/The Quinte Arts Council

Picton/Quinte West

Pride at the QAC

Pride season is upon us! Pride month serves as a platform for promoting self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility for 2SLGBTQI+ individuals. A time to embrace their identities, express their authentic selves, advocate for equal rights, and raise awareness about the challenges faced by the 2SLGBTQI+ community. 

It is an opportunity to promote love, acceptance, and equality for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This year marks the 5th annual Everyone Under the Rainbow show. The show is dedicated to celebrating everyone with a focus on those who identify as 2SLGTBQIA+. The show opened June 8th from 4-6 PM and was part of the arts walk in the Gallery District Downtown Belleville. 

“The arts are for everyone. This is an inclusive show open to the entire community. It’s a time to celebrate identity and coming together,” says Janet Jarrell, Executive Director of the Quinte Arts Council. “The QAC Community Hub is a safe space for everyone to gather in order to enjoy arts and culture. We want everyone to know they can see themselves represented in our space and in our Umbrella magazine.”

The Bay of Quinte Pride theme for 2023 is “The Next Generation, Our Future” which is a way to let youth know that it’s ok to be their true selves. One of the artists participating in this year’s Everyone Under the Rainbow show, Bill Stearman, is a quilt maker who has a series of gender neutral baby quilts (#ItsNotAboutTheirBits).

One of the quilts they have entered into Everyone Under the Rainbow represents the power people have to fight for their rights.

“As I observed the loss of what I see as basic human rights and freedoms south of the border, I became filled with terror at the thought that this trend might spread to Canada. In the midst of this feeling of terror, I watched a video of Patti Smith singing, People Have the Power. This song reminded me that stopping the trend; protecting our Canadian values, is up to us all! We have the power. Let’s use it!”

Stearman has created Safe With Me, a program selling pins that allies can wear to demonstrate that they are safe people who will be ready to offer a safe space or help “step in to walk with us, or sit with us, or just be with us if necessary” Stearman hopes to donate the funds to a local charity. 

Larry Tayler is another artist who is featured in the show. Earlier this year Tayler spoke at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Picton to present Jesus For the Embarrassed: A Queer-Eyed Journey Into Christianity. The presentation focused on Tayler’s journey with religion and trying to understand how some people use religion as a means for hate instead of acceptance.

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