This tiny N.L. outport wants you to Come Home Queer — a festival some people are calling a 'gift'

·4 min read
The Come Home Queer festival is welcoming people of all stripes to join them in a Pride celebration this weekend. (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press - image credit)
The Come Home Queer festival is welcoming people of all stripes to join them in a Pride celebration this weekend. (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Paul Daly/The Canadian Press
Paul Daly/The Canadian Press

A tiny town on the island of Newfoundland is combining celebrations for Pride Week and Come Home Year, hosting the second annual Come Home Queer event.

The outport community of Small Point-Broad Cove-Black Head-Adam's Cove, home to roughly 400 residents, is hosting the LGBT community and cultural festival from July 15 to 17.

The outport is planning storytelling, performances from Canada's Got Talent finalist Kellie Loder, a shed party, and parade, along with other events and activities.

Brandon King, mayor of Small Point-Adam's Cove, feels excitement and energy running through the town, adding it presents a wonderful opportunity for all who attend.

"I think it's great to see such a unique and diverse group of people," said King.

"They've really got something to offer our community. To see the energy and positivity that goes into organizing an event like this, and the turnout and just the excitement in the town, it really adds a special touch to our town that I think other towns can't match."

King says he's optimistic about the future of the community, given the positivity surrounding the weekend's festivities.

"I hope people see that we have something unique to offer," said King. "You know, we're a small, rural town, but we're growing. People are moving here for a reason. We're welcoming and we're hoping to grow, and to see people come out and organize a wonderful event like this makes me optimistic for the future of our town and rural Newfoundland in general."

Katie Breen/CBC
Katie Breen/CBC

Jimmy Johnson, owner of Small Point General Store, is catering the events. He said the public is starting to get antsy with anticipation, noting that this year's event is larger than the inaugural outing last year.

"They kind of went a little bit all out and let everyone know," Johnson said. "So hopefully this one is big, bigger than last year, and next year will be bigger again."

Johnson added that he's excited to be able to show off his store's famous tea buns, calling it a win-win situation.

An event celebrating warmth and beauty

Members of the LGBT community and performers alike are excited about the opportunity to take part in such a special event.

Kate Best has been excited about the Come Home Queer festival since being asked to perform a few months back. Having formed the group Prodigal Daughter, performing its first show 30 years ago in Carbonear, she jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the celebration.

"Somewhat nervous, but I think once we get up there — we've been practicing, so we hope to make people happy and get some rhythm going."

When asked what it's like to have so many old friends come together in the community, Best said the experience has been heartwarming.

"It's like being wrapped in a really warm blanket," said Best. "So far today I've seen so many beautiful people, some that I haven't even seen for almost 30 years. It's just the warmth and the beauty and the peacefulness, the music."

Katie Breen/CBC
Katie Breen/CBC

Gerry Rogers, former leader of the provincial NDP, holds the distinction of being the first openly LGBT leader of a political party in Newfoundland and Labrador, before retiring in 2019.

Rogers told CBC News that when she originally moved to the town 33 years ago, there was a curiosity about her lifestyle, along with blatant homophobia.

Luckily, she says, there was a gradual shift in thinking.

"Over the years, as we got to know the community, the community got to know us," said Rogers.

"We grew from being apart from the community to being a part of the community. And I want to celebrate that. And the people in our town want to celebrate that. The response has been amazing. And how lucky are we in 2022 to be able to do this in this marvelous community?"

While Rogers is excited to celebrate with fellow members of the LGBT community, she stresses the importance of the community's allies.

"One thing we know is that our rights are never given to us, they're really hard won," said Rogers.

"I think this weekend is a celebration of that as well, celebrating the great gains that we have made together. So we're celebrating together, a queer community in this community with our allies, with the town's folks. I'm so very proud of our town."

LISTEN | Gerry Rogers discusses Come Home Queer with the St. John's Morning Show

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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