Pride parade grand marshal touted as role model
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This article was published 17/06/2019 (1375 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Like her namesake, Prairie Sky is a vibrant, powerful force to be reckoned with.
The community-minded, charismatic drag performer is focused on making the world a better place by empowering others.
Sky, whose name outside of drag queen circles is Levi Foy, was selected as the grand marshal of this year’s Brandon Pride Parade as a result of the positive force she has been in the community, Brandon Pride vice-chair Kenneth Jackson said.
Sky was born in Souris, grew up in Westman and now calls Winnipeg home.
She uses drag to explore her gender identity, with the act serving as an outlet to express her femininity.
“(My style) is kinda classy and kinda trashy,” Sky said. “I like to look really pretty, but I also am really foul and like to be lots of fun and subversive, but also approachable.”
Performing on stage is an amazing experience because she can amp up, have fun and engage with the audience while, most importantly, maintaining a platform that can give a voice to the queer community.
Drag qeens are “the motivators and mouthpieces of our different movements, it feels really good to have that kind of connection to that history,” Sky said.
Over the years, she has become known for her work with LGBTQ homeless youth through Sunshine House, a community drop-in harm centre in Winnipeg, and has been a strong part of the Indigenous community, Jackson said.
“It’s giving people the space and people can do whatever they want with the space, and that helps people build community, form relationships and feel connected to a pretty isolated world sometimes,” Sky said.
Her eloquence, education and focus on intersectional work in Winnipeg in an effort to make the world a little better can serve as an inspiration for many, Jackson said.
Brandon Pride chair Stefon Irvine added that these traits represent everything a grand marshal should be.
“She works tirelessly in the community volunteering most of her time and putting so much work back in.”
For local youths, Irvine, said the effect of having a powerful role model like that in Brandon is priceless.
Irvine said that Sky strives to make sure everybody has a seat at the table by creating spaces that welcome everyone.
“As a person that lives in Brandon, it’s really awesome to see that — look how good it is and how far we have come, and the people like Sky are working to change those spaces,” Irvine said.
Jackson said he is very proud of the Westman community for the steps it has taken to include and celebrate the LGBTQ community.
Brandon Pride has been officially running for 10 years, with the Pride Parade taking place for the last five years.
When the effort first began, it was for the most part an isolated community that would hold low-key socials, Jackson said, adding that over the years it has blossomed to become a staple of the community, filling the streets of Brandon with joyful colours and celebration.
“I’ve seen us come a long way, but that’s not saying we still don’t have a lot to do,” Jackson said.
Sky serves as symbol of how Brandon Pride wants to move forward in the community, especially when it comes to community engagement and support of traditionally marginalized groups.
“Westman has come a long way, but for a lot of kids here it is still an issue of being comfortable with themselves and being comfortable in their community — seeing someone that has come from our community to create such a better world means a lot,” Jackson said.
There is a growing impetus to nurture and protect LGBTQ rights, he said, especially given the restrictions many LGBTQ people face around the world.
“Our rights need to be enshrined, protected and defended every day.”
» Twitter: @The_ChelseaKemp