Louder and prouder than ever in Lanark County


On Saturday, June 24, more than 120 people of all ages came together to celebrate Pride month in Lanark County at the Gayla, hosted by Smiths Falls Pride. Attendees line danced the night away, indulged in delicious food and drinks, and participated in a silent auction. 

The mood was upbeat and celebratory: despite a backdrop of rising hate against the 2SLGBTQ+ community, the Gayla promised a safe space for people to be who they truly are, and to share love for each other.   

What the attendees didn’t know is that someone among them was set to be surprised with United Way East Ontario’s Community Builder Award for creating safe, welcoming and caring spaces within and for the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

United Way believes that everyone in Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark County and Renfrew County deserves the chance to be heard, included, supported, and celebrated for who they are. That’s why it was so important for us to celebrate queer leadership during Pride Month.

During the thank yous, and right before a spectacular Drag performance from Cleo Taurus, United Way’s Lanark County Regional Director Elle Halladay presented Queer Connect Lanark’s Elizabeth Snyder with a Community Builder Award.  

Smiths Falls Mayor Shawn Pankow spoke, and reminded the Gayla that “If [people] learned how to hate, they can be taught how to love.” Elizabeth is a shining example of someone who loves their community, and who inspires other to spread kindness. In rural areas, there isn’t large-scale organized support for queer and trans communities. That’s where Elizabeth comes in, as the driving force of this community.

In a time when people want us to disappear, we’re appearing louder and prouder than ever.


Elizabeth Snyder 

Get to know Elizabeth on Apt613 


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