Stacey Chomiak’s queer, illustrated, young-adult memoir ‘Still Stace: My Gay Christian Coming-of-Age Story’ is being released on Oct. 19, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
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We at Steinbach Neighbours for Community wish you all a happy, safe and healthy PRIDE MONTH! Celebrate your uniqueness! We love you.
For virtual Pride Month events check out: https://pridewinnipeg.com/
Steinbach United Church is a community of faith that actively supports justice and inclusion and began 8 years ago on an Affirming journey. Together we listened, studied, shared stories, faced challenges and updated policies.
On March 14th they celebrated becoming an Affirming Ministry within The United Church of Canada! If you would like to view the service it can be found on their website: http://steinbachunitedchurch.ca/ministers-message.
By Amanda Jetté Knox
Read Article Here
“I am a girl trapped in a boy’s body,” our then 11‐year‐old explained in a heartfelt letter to me and my spouse. Our middle child had typed the message just moments ago from the bedroom across the hall. “More than anything, I need to be a girl. Please help me.”
Members of Parliament voted 308-7 in favour of inclusion and diversity in Canada when they passed Bill C-6 which would criminalize conversion therapy. The bill is now before a committee and amendments may be brought forward before a third and final reading in the House.
What is conversion therapy? Conversion therapy involves various practices that attempt to change an individuals’ sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Bill C-6 proposes legislative amendments to the Criminal Code.
The legislation recommends five new Criminal Code offences related to conversion therapy. These include:
- causing a minor to undergo conversion therapy
- removing a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad
- causing a person to undergo conversion therapy against their will
- profiting from providing conversion therapy
- advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy.
Many Canadian professional associations such as the Canadian Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Pediatric Association state that the practice of conversion therapy is harmful to LGBTQ2S persons, especially minors. Conversion therapy is centered on the false idea that any sexual orientation other than heterosexuality and any gender identity other than cisgender, is not normal or is an illness that can and should be changed. Conversion therapy is not only ineffective, it has devastating effects for those undergoing this therapy such as anxiety, depression, stigma, self-hatred and suicidal thoughts and suicide.
All Liberal, Bloc Quebecois, New Democrat, Green and independent MPs who took part in the vote supported the bill. 7 Conservative MPs including Ted Falk, MP for Provencher, voted against the bill. In an article on Steinbach Online on Nov.18, 2020, Mr. Falk said that the topic of conversion therapy is one that generates more correspondence from his constituents than any other issue. He suggested that an overwhelming majority of those who contact his office in regards to this bill also feel that the bill is flawed. Steinbach Neighbours received a copy of a letter written by a mother from the Provencher constituency that was sent to Mr. Falk in support of Bill C-6. Permission to share this powerful letter of advocacy and support for LGBTQ2S individuals has been given and the letter appears below (names have been removed to protect privacy).
In the midst of a pandemic when it is more difficult to gather in support of shared causes, we must remain vigilant and follow the progression of this Bill C-6 to ensure that it does become law this time around. We ask other allies in the Provencher riding who wish to express their support for Bill C-6 to contact Mr. Ted Falk using the information below.
Ted Falk, MP
76 PTH 12 N
Tel: (204) 326-9889
Toll free 1 866 333-1933
Fax: 204 346-9874
It is the hope of Steinbach Neighbours for Community that Bill C-6 will ultimately be proclaimed, ensuring that all Canadians can live safely and freely as their true authentic selves. Canada is stronger when it recognizes, protects and celebrates diversity.
Letter written by a mother from the Provencher constituency
sent to Mr. Falk in support of Bill C-6
Below is a list of books that encourage empathy and inclusivity. Click the book title to link to a site where you can purchase it.
- The Big Orange Splot – Daniel Manus Pinkwater
- Suki’s Kimono – Chiere Uegaki and Stephanie Jorisch
- Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress – Christine Baldacchino
- The Family Book – Todd Parr
- The Sissy Duckling – Harvey Fierstein
- All Families Are Special – Norma Simon
- Have You Filled a Bucket Today? – Carol McCloud
- How Full is Your Bucket?( for kids) – Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer
- Pink is For Boys – Robb Pearlman
- The Crayon Box that Talked – Shane DeRolf
- Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall
- Bear For Breakfast – Robert Munsch
- All Are Welcome – Alexandra Penfold
- Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag – Rob Sanders
- Julian Is A Mermaid – Jessica Love
- The Whispers – Greg Howard
- I Am Jazz – Jessica Herthel
- Jacob’s New Dress – Ian Hoffman and Sarah Hoffman
- Families, Families, Families! – Suzanne Lang
- The Great Big Book of Families – Mary Hoffman
- Ruby, Head High – Irene Cohen-Janca
- Hair Love – Matthew A. Cherry
- We’re Different, We’re the Same But We’re All Wonderful – Bobbi Jane Kates
- One Family – George Shannon
- Who’s In My Family – Robie H. Harris
- Love Makes A Family – Sophie Beer
- The Water Walker – Joanne Robertson
- Stone Soup – Marcia Brown
- Sammy’s Visit – Val Plett Reimer
- This Is How It Always Is – Laurie Frankel
- And Tango Makes Three – Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
- I Need A Hug – Susie Linn
- The Colour of Us – Karen Katz
- Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – Lynne Marie
- Giraffes Can’t Dance – Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees
- We All Sing With the Same Voice – J. Philip Miller + Sheppard M Greene
- A Family is a Family – Sara O’Learya
Saturday, January 25, 2020, 10 am -2 pm
Steinbach Curling Club357 Elmdale Street 2nd Floor (Accessible)
We are excited to invite you to:
Connecting Neighbours: GROWING UP INCLUSIVE
RAISING INCLUSIVE KIDS – MaryLou Driedger
How do we help our children develop inclusive attitudes so they can play a vital role in the creation of caring communities where everyone feels welcome?
GROWING UP SAFE AND STRONG – Val Hiebert
An examination of Erikson’s classic psycho-social theory of child development applied to our everyday lives as parents, communities, and our own childhood histories.
• Free Admission
• Lunch is included
• Conversation circles
For further information contact Val Hiebert at:
email@example.com or 433-7488 (ext. 204) or 379-9652.
Friday, November 1, 2019, 7 pm
Roadhouse 52 Inn & Suites, 375 N Front Dr. B, Steinbach.
Steinbach Neighbours for Community invites you to join them in viewing the CBC documentary series, Devout & Out.
This series introduces us to LGBTTQI* individuals who have chosen to become or remain leaders in the church. Each episode follows one person, documenting their journey as they navigate their sexuality, identity and faith, as well as their relationship with their churches and with God. These individuals are pushing boundaries, breaking barriers and challenging secular and religious expectations of what it means to live faithfully today.
Following each documentary there will be time to discuss what we have seen and heard. The evening begins at 7 p.m. with refreshments. The first documentary will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Conversation circles will follow each video. Free Admission. For further information contact Val Hiebert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 433-7488 (ext. 204) or 379-9652.
The following story is not “new news”, but one that SNFC feels is important to highlight and share. Kelly Hofer is a photographer and gay-rights activist based in Calgary. Here is his story:
Kelly Hofer knew he wasn’t a fit from the start. At the age of nineteen he came out on Facebook, after leaving the Hutterite colony near Wawanesa, Manitoba, the only home he had ever known. The reaction by his people was extreme. Hear him tell his story in the video, Queer Hutterite: Misfit on the Colony.
The Parent Circle meets every second Wednesday of the month at Steinbach United Church, 541 Main St. from 7-9 p.m.
Steinbach Neighbours for Community invites parents of LGBTTQI* children and youth to a space of discovery, parent to parent, about our journey in our community. We look forward to our conversations, guided by Bonnie Loewen.
The Parent Circle meets every second Wednesday of the month at Steinbach United Church, 541 Main St. from 7-9 p.m, with the exception of Jan. 9, 2019.
Steinbach Neighbours for Community invites parents of LGBTTQI children and youth to a space of discovery, parent to parent, about our journey in our community. We look forward to our conversations, guided by Bonnie Loewen.
Steinbach’s third annual Pride March was held in downtown Steinbach on Saturday, July 21. SNFC was pleased to be represented by committee member Pearl Barz, who delivered an incisive address calling for our citizens to seek and find that common ground above and beyond our differences. Read a full account of the event here.
Good morning, my name is Pearl and I am speaking to you this morning on behalf of Steinbach Neighbours for Community. We are a group of people, mostly local, but some from surrounding communities as well, who care about many forms of diversity and equality in our communities. For now we have identified and are focusing on the needs and challenges being faced among the LGBTTQI.
Our resources have been put into having conversations, to provide insight, education and understanding, working to network and build bridges beyond one’s immediate social network. We want to promote greater inclusion for all people throughout Southeastern Manitoba, fostering healthy and wholesome communities.
Over the summer months Pride parades and marches will be taking place all across Canada. We want to embrace events like this that work towards inclusion, acceptance and understanding of our neighbours, a place where we can all find common ground.
Today we want to celebrate the people in our community who are making a difference. Today that is you, our neighbours. We all have opportunities every day to change the world. It’s amazing what the efforts of an individual or group of individuals can do to create change, if not in the world at least their local neighbourhood.
Over the years I have had the privilege of listening to some wonderful Indigenous speakers. Often speakers start their address to a group with the phrase “to all my relations”. As I researched that phrase, taking a closer look, I learned that it is an Ojibwe phrase meaning – we are related, or all are related. Their understanding is that all living things are connected, to each other and to the Creator, the Higher Power. I cannot exist without you and you cannot exist without me. What I do affects you and others and what you do affects me. Everything we do has an effect on others and on our world.
It seems to be a call to unity, nothing or no one matters more or less than the next person. The phrase brings us into harmony and equality with each other as we find common ground with everyone and everything.
What can we do in our communities to bring us to this place, this place of unity? We can celebrate each other, living together as neighbours, valuing each person for who they are. Pride is about the varied expressions of the life, gifts, and talents of the entire community.
Being different from each other doesn’t mean that we can’t be unified, even disagreeing doesn’t mean we can’t find common ground. Unity isn’t about being the same; it’s about accepting our differences and still being good neighbours, choosing to love and respect each other. We need to create an inclusive society that over-rides any differences, a community that ensures inclusion and equality of opportunity of all its members.
So, I will borrow the Ojibwe phrase and say – “to all my relations” – let our words, attitudes, actions and involvements make our communities better places for everyone, celebrating our differences as we learn to find that common ground and live together as good neighbours.
Saturday February 24, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Pat Porter Centre, 10 Chrysler Gate, Steinbach
Five presenters have been invited to share their knowledge and experience, as we explore a variety of topics relevant to our community. Full descriptions of each session can be found on our home page. There will be all-day refreshments and lunch at noon. Admission is free, and donations to cover costs are welcome. We hope to see you there!
Friday, October 27 at 7:00 p.m.
Steinbach Cultural Arts Centre, 304-2nd St.
Steinbach Neighbours for Community invites you to a movie night. Prayers for Bobby is a true story. Mary Griffith fights to “cure” her gay son. Although he tries to please his mother, Bobby cannot change, and his depression leads to suicide. Mary questions her faith and searches for comfort, ultimately changing her views in ways that she never could have imagined. A touching and ultimately healing story.
Join us for an opportunity to reflect and engage in conversation as this movie invites us to take a deeper look at a family divided and how they find strength and truth. For more information, contact email@example.com.
July 15, 2017: Attendees at the 2017 Pride March used words like “peaceful”, “more accepting”, and “much more relaxed” to describe the atmosphere at this year’s event. Recently retired minister, George Feenstra, likened it to “a church picnic, it’s so peaceful and gentle and good.” SNFC committee member, Gay Boese, was invited to speak, and you can read her message to the community here. Other reviews, videos and photos can be perused on the following sites:
The Winnipeg Sun: Second Steinbach Pride Parade a success
Steinbach Neighbours for Community, in partnership with Eden Health Care Services, welcomes the return of Ted Swartz, who brought us Listening for Grace two years ago. Laughter is Sacred Space is part of Ted’s Human Faces Tour in recognition of Mental Health Awareness month.
In this gritty and dramatic show, Ted walks us through his relationship with friend and business partner, Lee Eshleman, whose death by suicide stunned his community. Ted explores the paradox of working with a comedic partner struggling with bipolar disorder, as well as the challenge of writing and performing stories about God while experiencing the absence of God after Lee’s death. Using multi-media and his twenty years of storytelling experience, Laughter is Sacred Space is honest, funny and vulnerable, and reveals the unique journey of working as a comedic actor under the shadow of a mental illness, offering hope and humour in a way that only Ted could deliver.
You can learn more about Ted Swartz and find a preview of the play at: http://www.tedandcompany.com/shows/laughter-is-sacred-space/
Tickets are $12, available now at the Steinbach Arts Centre.
Steinbach Neighbours for Community invites you to an informal evening of conversation on February 9, 2017, 7 p.m. at the Steinbach Cultural Arts Centre, 302 Second St.
We continue to follow up on the interest generated by Still Listening…Voices Among Us, aware that safe and meaningful conversation is a goal highly appreciated in our community. We hope that the relaxed atmosphere and the promise of wholesome dialogue will encourage you to join us. There will be snacks:)
At separate meetings of the Hanover School Division Trustees, presentations were made by Michelle McHale (parent), and Mika Schellenberg (SRSS student) asking Hanover School Division Trustees to re-write their policies to protect LGBTTQI* youth from bullying, to welcome teachers to speak about LGBTTQI* issues in their classrooms, to allow teachers to protect the confidentiality of LGBTTQI* youth who are in conversation with them, and to provide curriculum that is inclusive of same-sex families. SNFC members were present for Mika’s presentation where she received a standing ovation.
At the June 7th public meeting of the Hanover School Division Trustees, each trustee offered a response to the requests of Michelle McHale and Mika Schellenberg. While two trustees spoke strongly in favor of revising policies regarding “Sensitive Content”, others were strongly opposed. As a result of comments made by a few of the trustees, Michelle McHale and her partner lodged a Human Rights Complaint, which is now in process.
From the Media:
- Local mom asks HSD to update policy
- CBC coverage of Steinbach mom’s request
- CBC news: Human rights complaint against Hanover School Division
- Steinbach Online: Read the complaint here.
- The Carillon: Hanover trustees clash on LGBT talk in schools
- Winnipeg Free Press: Trustees clash on LGBT discussions in schools
- CBC news: Hanover trustees in LGBT debate
If the Church were a Haven (First Things), Wesley Hill
Is it Homophobia or Something Else? by Dennis Hiebert (Download 289kB PDF)
October 28 and 29, 2016
Steinbach Neighbours for Community presented Still Listening:Voices Among Us to full houses on October 28 and 29, 2016 at the SRSS Theatre in Steinbach.
Voices Among Us is a collection of stories as told by people living in our community. These stories, delivered through theatre, poetry and music, represent a wide range of people, some who identify as LGBTTQI*; other accounts come from family, friends and allies. Each story is being lived by the person who was willing to share their narrative with us and with you, our audience.
The play was well received, and comments included large measures of gratitude for the strides being made in making room for conversation in our community.
June 14, 2016, Tuesday, 8 p.m.
K.R. Barkman Park, Steinbach
Steinbach Neighbours For Community, along with Steinbach Pride, invited the public to attend a vigil in response to the June 12th massacre in Orlando, Florida, in which forty-nine people were killed and more than fifty wounded while attending a gay nightclub. The event, which drew 200 people, included speeches from several local and provincial spokespeople, as well as the reading of the names of the victims.
October 17, 2015
SRSS Theatre, Steinbach
Steinbach Neighbours for Community brought “Listening for Grace” to the city in an endeavour to open up a grace-filled dialogue about the LGBTTQ* presence in our community. Produced by Ted Swartz, Listening for Grace is a compelling and enlightening play that follows the story of a widowed father whose son has just come out as gay. Through his relationships with his son, an estranged cousin, people in his church and a pastor who deals with issues of sexuality in the Bible, the main character is challenged by many different viewpoints and experiences.
The advance billing was so well received that SNFC had to add a second show. About 375 people attended.
Sex Biology Redefined: Genes don’t indicate Binary Sexes (Stanford Medicine), Andrea Ford
Welcoming in the Gentiles: A Biblical Model for Decision Making, Sylvia Keesmaat (link to the PDF)
Welcoming the Stranger: Same-Sex Marriage from a Canadian Mennonite Perspective, Susanne Guenther Loewen (Download PDF)