Morden to hold first Pride event

D Van Vliet Vaisius is organizing the first Morden Pride, and hopes the event will bring visibility to reach people in the area that need support. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

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Morden will be joining the list of communities across the province and country celebrating Pride on June 22.

Morden Pride, organized by D Van Vliet Vaisius, will be the first Pride event to take place in Morden.

“It’s always a good time for Pride in the sense that Pride is important politically and has been for a very long time,” Vaisius said. “Especially if an area is kind of uncomfortable, that’s usually the best time in many ways because it’s the most needed.”

Vaisius has lived in the area for most of their life, two years in Winkler and the rest in Morden. They came out as gay when they were 16. A few years after that they came out as transgender and now identify as non-binary.

As a non-binary person, Vaisius uses the pronouns they/them to reflect their gender identity.

Vaisius said they had wanted to hold a Pride event for years, and decided this year was the year to do it.

“It’s been long overdue,” they said.

Vaisius said they are hoping the event brings some much-needed visibility.

“In 2016 I started the Grey Elephant Awareness Campaign,” they said. “That was surrounding this area, trying to help muster some support and acceptance and understanding.”

Vaisius said the cause didn’t gain enough visibility to reach people in the area.

“A lot of people are very closeted, are dealing with a lot of disrespect and a lot of pain and can’t fully come out oftentimes because of safety, because of losing family,” they said. “The event has already gained so much visibility, more than I ever could have imagined. I’m really excited by that. I think once you get big enough, once you get visible enough, you’re able to actually be seen by those people that need you the most.”

“I’m really hoping that this starts not just Pride in this area, but also starts a bigger ability to help people and have events and have resources for people.”

Pride will start at 2 p.m. in the Morden Park bowl with a rally, speakers and sign making. Vaisius is still waiting for the permit to be approved by the city, but participants will march up 13th Street to Stephen Street and down to the Civic Centre for a more story-based gathering.

Pride events are held all over the country to celebrate and show support for the LGBT+ community.
Vaisius said the response has been overwhelmingly positive so far.

“It’s very important,” they said. “For me growing up here there was nothing, there was absolutely nothing. The closest thing that you could get for resources, for community, for anything was Winnipeg, and that’s brutal. That’s not okay at all.”