The year 2020 brought some new challenges but we persevered and learned new ways to bring the community together. Our recipient of our Tyrell Pride Leadership Award was Mary Elizabeth Rochon. Mary grew up in the Catholic school system and was not taught anything about the 2SLGBTQ+ community. She transferred to Woodstock Collegiate Institute and joined the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). The GSA was planning a large IDAHO (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia) event in Woodstock, however, it got cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We look forward to Mary’s continued activism within the 2SLGBTQ+ community and we wish her all the best on her future endeavors.

Last year, we received a grant from Community Futures Oxford to install a Rainbow crosswalk in Downtown Woodstock. This was delayed due to Covid-19 but is expected to take place in April or May of 2021. “The Oxford County Pride Committee recognizes Community Futures Oxford for its financial support through the Community Economic Development Program towards the Rainbow Sidewalk, which provides not for profits in Oxford County with grants that catalyse economic activity in a number of priority areas.”

The year 2021 is looking to be an exciting year. It will be a virtual Pride season again, but, we are planning for in-person events later this year. Fingers crossed. Watch for events to be livestreamed on virtual platforms. Our June events, such as flag raisings in Woodstock, Ingersoll and Tillsonburg, Storytime with the Queen. Our Oxford Pride Family Day, will be filled with entertainment and a list of other hosts and information. We hope you can join us. Watch our social media sites for information.

Last year we had a community request to adopt the new Progress flag in place of the Rainbow flag. The Progress flag adds the colours of the Transgender flag as well as the Brown and Black stripe for persons of colour. We are a very diverse community and feel inclusion and diversity must be represented and celebrated within the 2SLGBTQ+ community. We have sent out request to the cities and townships requesting they fly the Pride Flag, preferably the Progress Flag, throughout June. Oxford Pride will supply the flag. We have adjusted our logo to reflect this change. These are just a couple of small things we can do to stand in unity.

We were the recipient of a Community Economic Development & Diversification (CEDD) grant from Fierté Canada Pride. This money will be used in a project to make our website more inclusive and accessible to everyone in our community. This project includes improving our streaming capabilities, which we will continue to use after the pandemic at our events, allowing us to interact with people who cannot be physically present at our events. We are very grateful for the support of Fierté Canada Pride who have helped us to grow as a committee in small town, southern Ontario.

Lastly, We are thankful for the continued support of our sponsors who make all of this possible.