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Fogo Island has pride

Through visibility and conversation, Evan Parsons, left, and Trevor Taylor, co-directors of Fogo Island Pride, are hoping the group’s formation can help provide youth and adults with an environment that is supportive of their true selves.
Through visibility and conversation, Evan Parsons, left, and Trevor Taylor, co-directors of Fogo Island Pride, are hoping the group’s formation can help provide youth and adults with an environment that is supportive of their true selves. - Contributed

Having worked in different rural communities throughout the province as an openly out couple, Trevor Taylor and Evan Parsons, co-directors of Fogo Island Pride, said they always felt accepted.
They have experienced that same acceptance in moving to Fogo Island, where Taylor has been a teacher for the past four years, and Parsons, the town’s tourism director.
However, finding established pride communities has always been difficult.
Taylor said they always talked about forming a pride committee, and on May 14, they decided to give it a try.
The response has been one of support, he said. At the inaugural Fogo Island Pride meeting, 14 people attended, three identified as being part of the LGBTQ2+ community, the rest were allies.
“It’s excellent to have so many people backing us, recognizing the need for it,” said Taylor. “If we never had that support we wouldn’t have even thought about doing this.”
Fogo Island Pride’s goal is to bring visibility to the island, encourage conversation, host mental and health awareness seminars, and offer knowledge and experience to foster education. 
“The more it’s talked about the more it becomes accepted,” said Parsons.
Having that presence, he added, helps provide youth and adults with an environment that is supportive of their true selves.
“It’s building a community that is proud, to support and advocate for each other, so they don’t have to move away to be their true selves,” Taylor said.
“We never ever experienced any outward aggression, we’ve always been accepted by a group of friends, but it just seems it is something that is not talked about, it really isn’t ‘normalized’ as well in rural settings as it has been in more urban areas.”
While no official dates have been set, the group is looking to hold events sometime in mid-August. This would be in the form of barbeques, community hikes, flag raisings, and, possibly a dance.
“There’s no lofty plans in the immediate future other than getting ourselves grounded and offering those experiences,” he said.

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