Growing up Phil’s always knew he wasn’t a heterosexual male and in the 80’s “coming out” wasn’t the easiest of tasks. Phil Gourlay was born on the 18th of April 1978 in the small town of Acton, Ontario. He studied human resources at Sheridan college in 2000 and afterwards worked in banking for a decade. Homosexuality is something that’s still somewhat frowned upon. A person’s sexuality has a direct impact on their health, the problem doesn’t lie with them but lies with the attitude and behaviors of the society around them. This can be challenging especially in a small region like Niagara.
A few years ago, Phil developed Pride Niagara, an event created for the LGBT community. Previously, this event used to be held in the woods with only its attendees being aware of it. Seeing such a region as Niagara with 12 municipalities and nothing which catered to the needs of the LGBT community Phil took it upon himself, using his event planning skills to turn this hidden event to a public highly anticipated annual event with over 80 vendors, numerous sponsors, contests and lighting the falls with rainbow colors. Phil said he did this because growing up gay in Niagara is hard, he knows what it’s like to not be accepted. The event was created as a platform of acceptance and a medium for people to show themselves to the world. Since then this event has given people the boldness to be more open about their sexuality. Now people don’t need the Pride anymore to show who they really are.
He says the first pride in the park was one project he considers the most significant in his entire career. Because of this people are no longer ashamed of their truths.
Pride is about empowerment, Because of Phil Niagara is a more welcoming place.
To learn more about Pride Niagara, Please go here.
“Courage is being yourself everyday in a world that tells you to be someone else”