Members of the Borden Pride Network (BPN) showed up in force to march in the Barrie Pride Parade on 11 June and show their support for the LGBTQ2S+ community.
“To be able to wear our uniform at our local Pride parade makes us proud and happy to serve in the CAF,” said Sgt Carole Cloutier, co-chair of the BPN since 2018.
Anyone in uniform was welcome to join them. The group of 25 included BPN members, allies, and family and friends who wanted to join in the fun. Sgt Cloutier said the group was happy to return to this event which, like many others, was put on pause during the pandemic.
“Having lived in Barrie, I was proud to participate in my new home town,” said Sgt Cloutier. “Many of us live in the surrounding communities and it means a lot for us to live and grow in an inclusive community. The City of Barrie has been very welcoming to BPN and we enjoy supporting each other’s events!”
The BPN was created in 2016 by Padre John Niles with a small committee of five and has now grown to more than 60 members.
“Padre Niles created this huge wave throughout the CAF which has affected our policies and rights. We feel protected and supported,” said Sgt Cloutier.
BPN supports LGBTQ2S+ soldiers year-round by offering a safe space for new members and their families through various events. They also support local Pride chapters from Barrie to Collingwood, and have a presence at Base Borden events, including flag raisings, Welcome to Borden Day, and the recent Canadian Armed Forces Day and Air Show. Sgt Cloutier says BPN is looking forward to resuming Drag Bingos in the fall and have organized monthly showings of LGBTQ2S+ movies at the Terra Theatre starting in September.
By: Emily Nakeff, Editor
Photos by Master Corporal Stuart Evans