KALISPELL — With Pride Month just days away, one nonprofit is providing LGBTQ+ "folx" a safe space in the Flathead for all gender identities and sexual orientations - the first of its kind for the valley.
“I've lived in a lot of other areas and they're typically in a community that has the size of the Flathead Valley and has some sort of LGBTQ-focused organization,” said Bryan Bebb, executive director of Glacier Queer Alliance.
Which is why Bebb and others, decided to form GQA, to give "folx" of the LGBTQ+ community a sense of safety and pride.
"Folx" is a gender-neutral term used to include those who are gender-queer, two-spirit, transgender or agender.
The nonprofit is wanting to bring light to the fact that members of the LGBTQ+ community are omnipresent.
“It's a really unique environment for queer folk here in Montana we firmly believe at GQA, queer people are everywhere and we do everything. Sometimes that conflicts with the idea of what Montana or Flathead glacier region is,” said Bebb.
GQA also has community resources for allies and those wanting to be supportive as some bills from the 2021 Montana Legislature have restricted rights, such as House Bill 112, which was sponsored by a legislator out of the Flathead.
House Bill 112 was signed by Gov. Greg Gianforte and requires high school and college athletes to compete based on their “biological” sex.
Although Bebb has not experienced negativity based on their own identity, many cannot say the same.
“A lot of our community has not had that same privilege and lack of negative attention focused on them,” said Bebb.
Which is why GQA is providing members of the community with safe spaces to connect, and be proud of who you are.
And as Pride Month approaches, GQA is providing celebrations through the valley.
“We have five focused events over four days starting June 10 and running through June 13,” said Bebb.
You can find more information about GQA here.