From left

From left

Rouge raises funds for Chilliwack’s gay community

The Fraser Valley Pride Society is raising money to provide much-needed resources and assistance for Chilliwack's gay community.

Imagine being a young, gay teenager. You tell your parents that you’re gay, hoping that they’ll accept you and love you for who you are, but they don’t.

Instead, they kick you out of the house.

You end up sleeping on a friend’s couch for as long as they will let you — maybe a week or two, maybe a month. The only place to go after that is to another friend’s house, or out on the street.

Eventually, you might end up on the streets of Vancouver, prostituting for money.

Some find it hard to believe that this situation happens in Chilliwack, but it does. Some don’t even believe there’s a gay community in Chilliwack, but there is.

“Because we (the gay community) are not visible, there is that mindset that we are not out there,” says Michael Marks, a founding member of the Fraser Valley Pride Society (FVPS).

“There’s nothing here for gay youth if they get kicked out of their house,” says Christiane Coopman, fellow founding member of FVPS. “There is a real need for safe houses for gay youth in Chilliwack.

“There’s no where to call. There’s nothing for them. It’s like they are in the desert,” she adds.

Marks, Coopman, and the people at FVPS want to change that.

Together with the UFV Pride Network (UFVPN), they are raising money in order to one day provide resources, a help line, and eventually safe housing for the local gay community, specifically youths.

“The isolation is such that people don’t even know where to turn. We want to become the one-stop shop for anyone who has any questions,” says Marks. “We are trying to start somewhere. We need to get resources for the kids, and in order to start we need money.”

It begins for them this Friday with their first fundraiser where they will be celebrating the end of Halloween at the Best Western Rainbow Country Inn.

Their event, Rouge: A night of Hellhounds Demigods and Devious Desires, will feature music by Phat Boyz, and appearances by internationally renowned entertainers Myria Le Noir and Mz Adrien. There will also be lots of raffles and prizes for best costumes.

They’ve sold 100 tickets already, and there’s room for 300 people at the event.

“The first week I sold 50 tickets without any advertising,” says Marks.

This event aims to raise funds for FVPS and UFVPN to cover operational costs as well as future outreach programs and anti-bullying campaigns in local schools.

The FVPS is a not-for-profit society which first began as a Facebook group in 2011. On Facebook, they’re called Out in Chilliwack, and so far more than 200 people have joined.

Currently, the FVPS offers support services for the local LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning) community, and social events in Chilliwack. FVPS has socials every two weeks where new and current members get together for barbecues, movies, games and more.

The UFVPN, which began about eight years ago, is at a strong 300 members.

“You’ve got to have a vision and a dream and hope to accomplish anything,” says Marks. “You have to work towards it. You have to think the status quo is not acceptable.”

Rouge is not just for the gay community, says Marks. Everyone 19 and older is welcome to attend.

The event takes place Friday, Nov. 1 at the Best Western from 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Tickets for Rouge: A night of Hellhounds Demigods and Devious Desires are $8 in advance and available at the Best Western, Soul 2 Sole, Touch N Tan, and Musicworx, or $15 at the door. Student tickets are $5 in advance at the UFV Chilliwack and Abbotsford campus book stores. Tickets are also two for $20 on the night of the event between 9 and 10 p.m.

For more info, go to www.fraservalleypride.com or email info@fraservalleypride.com

photo@theprogress.comTwitter.com/PhotoJennalism

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The annual Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford is moving online for 2021. (File photo)
Make a Difference Sale in Abbotsford goes virtual for 2021

Annual auction raises money for world hunger through Canadian Foodgrains Bank

The Bug Girl, written by seven-year-old Sophia Spencer, is being given to 500 B.C. classrooms as part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month. (Submitted photos)
Reading challenges part of Canadian Agriculture Literacy Month

Abbotsford-based BC Agriculture in the Classroom participates in 10th annual event

Two teens were sent to hospital after being stabbed Saturday evening. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Two teens stabbed in Abbotsford

20-year-old man has been detained

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Most Read