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Toronto, May 26 (Canadian-Media): The official launch of the 2017 Pride Winnipeg Festival today at the University of Winnipeg and city hall accompanied with flag raisings, kicked off with its first two-spirit powwow at The Forks, media reports said.
Two-spirit is an umbrella term used by some Indigenous people to describe gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender members of their community, CBCNews reports said.
Past years’ handling of the festival had been sharply criticized by the LGBT community and consequently new marketing campaigns and public consultations were created to foster inclusivity in the festival.
"We wanted to do it because it hasn't been done before, and we wanted to educate all nations that we do belong in the circle," said Ryan Richard, who is on the powwow's organizing committee. "One of our committee members just decided, 'You know, it's about time we have one,'" CBCNews reports said.
With a crowdfunding campaign 2017 Pride Winnipeg Festival could collect $10,000 and festival's first two-spirit powwow were performed.
Indigenous and LGBT community’s reaction and response to 2017 Pride Winnipeg Festival had been unexpectedly and incredibly positive, said Richard.
"They're being really accepting about it and that's another good thing. I think it's because there's so much of us out there that are bringing themselves out there more," he said. "We just want a safe space to express ourselves through dance," CBCNews reports said.
Friday's powwow would include a two-spirit dance competition, hoop dancing and other exhibitions.
Richard said anyone was free to register to dance and everyone was welcome to attend.
"Just be yourself and bring yourself and come! It'll shine a new light on you," he said. "We want everyone to come out and be themselves and enjoy the culture," CBCNews reports said.
Starting from Friday to June 4, the festival would cover more than 30 events, including dance parties, film nights, art shows, singles nights, pancake breakfasts, drag queens reading books to kids and, the Pride Winnipeg parade on June 4.
An exhibit on LGBT activism would be included at the University of Manitoba Friday's pride events.
Best LGBT ads would be screened at the Park Theatre.
A performance from Treasure Peterson would also be screened at Joe Black Coffee Bar.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Image of Powwow. Image credit: Wikipedia