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Daily Dose — The History of Nelson Pride

No parade, but a historical look at Nelson Pride as Touchstones hosts an exhibition from August 27th to October 30th, 2021, in Gallery B. —Photo courtesy Jamie Srigley

There will be no LGBTQ2+ pride parade again this year due to COVID-19, but there will be a Nelson Pride History Exhibition at Touchstones.

Arin Fay, museum curator, is excited to share We Love a Parade! which is the first show of its kind to be held at the museum. The show officially opens to the public on August 27th and will run through to October 30th, 2021, in Gallery B.

The show's concept came from Michael Wicks, an active member of Nelson’s LGBTQ2+ community. Michael worked hard in the Shawn Lamb Archives at Touchstones and is personally responsible for bringing much queer content to the museum’s collection.

"There was absolutely nothing reflecting queer community and LGBTQ2+ history," said Fay.

"Michael has spent the last few years collecting things and making sure that there is a presence down there. That work inspired doing something more fulsome and trying to engage the community and tell the story in an exhibition." 

Wicks was central in pulling together the exhibition. Although he's not comfortable being listed as co-curator, he is "marshalling" this exhibition the way he usually "marshals" the parade.

The pride flag will fly at Touchstones for the duration of the show. The history of pride in Nelson will come to light in this informative and well-researched show.

"We have a timeline that reflects on large-scale happenings and events, researched by two of our summer students. They spent a lot of time researching from a global perspective, LGBTQ2+ evolution. They also did in tandem Kootenay-specific timeline that co-relates with those things," says Fay.

Like, the parades happened across the world in so many different years. It's interesting to see where those play out in a historical timeline."

Wicks worked with the two summer students, Adrian Dunkerson and Thomas Strother.

"It was a meaningful research project for young people who are connected to the community, to look at the past and think about where they fit in," says Fay. 

The students helped create the historical timeline, and Dunkerson made a 'Glossary of Terms' and wrote an outstanding essay that will be part of the exhibition, says Fay.

Another exhibition happening at Touchstones connects with the themes of pride history.

"The pride exhibition dovetails beautifully with JJ Levine's exhibition that's happening in Gallery A at the same time. Levine is a queer photographer from Montreal who's documenting gender and family and investigating what queer family looks like."

Amy Bohigian of Nelson's Watershed Productions is working on an independent film connected as well to the Pride History Exhibition and a screening of the film’s trailer is part of the exhibition.

The movie "Queering the Interior" centres on defining people and moments in the LGBTQ2S+ community in the Kootenays, paying tribute to the legacy of activism that led to a diverse and powerful queer population today.

Stephanie Myers, Public Programs Coordinator at Touchstones, is overseeing all the public programming related to this exhibition. The museum will host a Queer Date Night on August 29th from 5 to 8 p.m.

There will also be a dual opening for We Love a Parade! and for the JJ Levine show on September 3rd. Touchstone's Indigenous Educator, Lesley Garlow, recently engaged Smokii Sumac, a Two-Spirit Ktunaxa poet, who will do a poetry reading at the opening.

The event, held in person, will be limited due to COVID-19; registration is required.