An upcoming event will look to do more than just raise money but also educate the community to be more inclusive.
Kelly Waters, who hosts events she terms as 'Gogs' at her home in North Battleford - stemming from the fact her home was once a synagogue - has held functions for the Canadian Mental Health Association in the past, but on Nov. 10, will instead focus on gender and sexuality in an effort to support the Battlefords Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA).
“I have always had an interest in helping out any group of people who feel there’s oppression going on,” Waters said. “Working with students in school, I’d run into GSA issues. As an artsy person, I have known people who are across the spectrum of gender issues over the years.”
Waters helped the GSA last summer host Pride Week. But after the lead organizer relocated to Saskatoon, Waters didn’t want the event to die. With this in mind, she met with others in the group to come up with ideas to fund next year’s Pride Week.
“I told them I had done fundraisers at my house before so we could do that. Then I put the word out to different musicians and artists that I know and asked if they’d be willing to donate some time," she explained. "We have 10 acts that are going to show up, so it is very exciting.”
The Gogs, according to Waters, accommodate up to 40 or 50 guests which is what she expects to show for this event. Waters provides all the food and only asks guests make a donation to the GSA in support.
Waters hopes the event will help educate the community on GSA issues.
“Even the whole pronouns issue and understanding someone would prefer to be called he or she even though they may not traditionally appear that way. Just learning about that, understanding it and respecting it."
Waters doesn’t necessarily think there is a big issue in the Battlefords regarding LGBTQ acceptance, though she has talked to students who fell uncomfortable at school, but made note this is sadly a common issue. Ultimately, Waters wants to help support all forms of community diversity.
On Twitter @realgreghiggins
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