A group of young Inuit who have been organizing the only Nunavik Pride parade in Kuujjuaq for three years now regrets having lost part of their funding this year and having to launch a fundraiser to maintain all their activities. The health authorities funding the project say they wanted to distribute the budget instead among the 14 communities in the territory.

The holding of a Pride parade in Kuujjuaq is very recent. The first such event was held in 2021. Last year, 80 people walked the streets of this small Inuit community in Ungava Bay or took part in sideline activities. The Pride Kuujjuaq group, which organizes the parade, is saddened to lose part of the funding this year that would have made it possible to bring in young people from other communities as well as artists or speakers from outside Nunavik.

“These people can come and give talks about acceptance. To motivate young people. To say that they are not alone”, explains an organizer who prefers to remain anonymous so as not to suffer reprisals.

To raise funds, the organizers launched a campaign via the GoFundMe site. On the site, they mention that transportation costs are “their main concern, considering that the plane is the only possible way” to reach Kuujjuaq.

Pride Kuujjuaq laments that “funding for essential aspects of Pride has been revoked” this year by the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (RRSSSN), the main funder of the event.

They also imply that it is the “homophobia” of certain members of the NRBHSS that is behind this decision. The organizer contacted by La Presse confirms that there seems to be homophobia among some members of the Régie, but also among other members of the community. “But that’s okay. We want to get over that. We are very happy that the Régie is funding us again this year,” he said.

The NRBHSS rejects these accusations. In a memo obtained by La Presse, the executive director, Jennifer Munick-Watkins, assures that her organization “has supported the LGBTQ community of Nunavik for several years and wants to continue to do so”.

By email, the Régie mentions that it has not reduced its financial support for Pride Week, which will be held from June 2 to 7. “The funding was instead redirected to the 14 communities of Nunavik, instead of being directed only to Kuujjuaq. The Régie affirms that the sums that were reserved to pay for the travel of young people from other communities to Kuujjuaq in recent years “have rather been redirected towards the organization of activities within their community of origin”.

How many other communities have shown their intention to hold a parade this year? None, recognizes the Régie. “But there are still several weeks to go until Pride Week,” they say.

The Régie explains that Pride Week “is part of the public health department’s sexual health program, which aims to promote sexual health among young people.” The Régie intends to cover “the travel costs of experts who will hold certain educational activities for young people, as well as the cost of material to promote the activity”.

The Régie plans “a wide variety of awareness and education activities on topics related to sexual health, prevention and screening for STBBIs, as well as workshops on healthy and safe interpersonal relationships”. The subject of sexual orientation will be discussed there.

The amounts involved for Pride Week activities have not yet been determined, but will be higher overall than last year, according to the Régie. La Presse’s interview requests with management went unheeded.

In an interview with the Nunatsiaq News media last year, a sexologist from the NRBHSS noted that “it is still a bit taboo to talk about anything related to sexuality in Nunavik, especially LGBTQ subjects”.

The organizer contacted by La Presse confirms that this is the case. “This reality is not really accepted. The Catholic religion is still very strong in many families. It’s correct. We just want with our event to break the loneliness and bring all Nunavik communities to learn more about the subject. We just want to be accepted and grow our event,” he said.