Queer kid in Gambo speaks out about homophobia after pro-Pride minister quits

Evan Pritchett, 14, lives in Gambo. (Submitted by Evan Pritchett)
Evan Pritchett, 14, says they want to pave the path for other kids in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. (Submitted by Evan Pritchett)

The Pride flag is flying outside the town hall in Gambo but for members of the area's 2SLGBTQ+ community, being queer in rural Newfoundland isn't easy.

Evan Pritchett, 14, lives that reality every day.

They are in Grade 8 and live in Gambo with their parents, Nicole Denty and Hedley Pritchett.

Evan said their parents always knew they were a part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, but support in the small town is not universal.

"There's definitely a lot of hatred for me and others like me in both just our regular lives and for some of us, our home lives," Evan said.

In school, students have threatened Evan and others like them, they said. Some parents won't let their kids be friends with them.

"We've had threats and we've had stuff thrown at us, and we've had people follow us home, and it's just been a really hard time in every town and every school I've been in so far," they said.

"They believe I'm a bad influence on their children just because I'm queer and they don't want me radicalizing their kids."

Blame on parents

Other parents have blamed Denty and Pritchett, they said.

Denty said she worries about Evan every day and the family has debated moving to St. John's.

"You know, I figured it was 2024, maybe things would be different — so it's been really hard. I want to just take them out of here," she said.

Pritchett said other parents have been blatantly intolerant.

"It's been really rough, and a lot of this abuse too has come from parents directly to us, who would say, 'Your child is not welcome here' or deliberately misgendering our child," he said.

Pride Month is celebrated in June around the world, including in Newfoundland and Labrador, while St. John's holds Pride Week events in mid-July.

Gambo hosted its Pride parade on Tuesday.

Gambo, on a lovely day in early December.
Evan says they've felt a lot of hatred in Gambo, in central Newfoundland. (Submitted by Walter Gill)

Highlighting the event, the town's Facebook post says, "The Town of Gambo is a space where all are welcomed and supported."

Evan argues otherwise.

They spoke up because Pride events at the United Church in Gambo were cancelled. The church's pro-Pride minister, Dianne Crewe, resigned shortly after.

"My dream of welcoming the gay community for June 23 will not take place. It would have been great to welcome you and share with you how much you are loved in God's sight," Crewe wrote on Facebook.

Crewe's departure sparked a lot of reaction. Evan was one of the youngest contributors.

"The second Dianne Crewe tries to welcome us at church — just one single thing to make us feel even an ounce of openness — the whole town goes into an uproar," they said.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Evan detailed their experience as a queer youth.

They encouraged people to show up to the United Church in Gambo and wear "as much rainbow as possible."

"Something needs to change in this town," they wrote.

Crewe declined a request for an interview.

'They are a force'

Evan is vocal about their experiences because they want to help other 2SLGBTQ+ kids.

"All I really want to do is make the world a better place for the next generation of young queer kids because when I was seven and eight and nine, I really could have used a me to help me through what life was like," they said.

Denty and Pritchett are proud of their child's resilience.

"They are a force and always have been, always forged their own path," said Pritchett.

"We are so immensely proud of our child. We tell them every day just how proud we are."

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