During my 20 years in media and communications, I have interviewed Hollywood stars, sport and music legends, and the newsmakers of the day. It is always exciting to meet them and talk about…well, the predictable things.
As an interviewer, you always try not to ask the typical questions but still, they knew, you knew, even the audience knew why they were there. They were famous, or notable, and had a story to tell that likely most knew a little bit about and were already eager to hear.
The thing is, I’ve always believed everyone has a story to tell, whether they are notable or not.
That’s why hosting Voices Unheard really spoke to me. Produced by Rebellious Unicorns and Unicorns Live, the weekly interview show brings to light the under-represented voices from across our community.
In the show’s first season, we discussed race, gender, diverse abilities, LGBT2Q+, ageism, and body positivity. And true to the show’s name, we heard from voices that we typically do not hear – everyday people, but they were so much more than ‘everyday.’
I felt privileged to hear folks share their stories. As I listened to each one, I recognized a level of resilience within that person that, to me, was enviable. Each individual was facing and managing societal injustices that today too many can identify with. Above all, they were doing it with grace.
They may not have been leading a movement or a campaign. They may not have been the ‘first to’ or the ‘only to.’ But that’s why each of them is infinitely more interesting to me. Each is the champion of their story and what they can teach us is how to be a champion for ourselves.
It’s true; I also learned that Transgendered is not a word and that you don’t call a drag performer’s clothing a costume – to name two. But that’s the other great thing I learned as the host of Voices Unheard. Even if you step in it, as long as you come from a place of genuine openness and understanding, it’s okay.
Rebellious Unicorns Production Company is a Kelowna-based event company focused on creating unique experiences to build stronger communities.
This summer, Rebellious Unicorns launched QUSIC, Kelowna’s first LGBTQ2+ programming featuring emerging musicians coming out and onto the B.C.’s music scene. The livestream series highlights emerging LGBT2Q+ artists in concert, along with an intimate conversation with the artist. Dustyn Baulkham is leading the way with the LGBTQ2+ community in Kelowna, creating inclusive spaces for LGBTQ2+ artists. We spoke with Dustyn about QUSIC and the importance of online communities during the pandemic.
For the final episode in this season of Voices Unheard, we celebrate Kelowna Pride Week by delving into the city’s LGBT2Q+ history, and learning the story of a gay man who has been instrumental in fostering the Pride movement in this British Columbia community.
Wilbur Turner (he/him) grew up during the 60s and 70s in rural Alberta “in a time when gay wasn’t a word you heard.” His upbringing in a conservative Christian cult made it impossible for him to recognize his sexuality, and was eventually ostracized by several of his own family and the church when he finally came out after 18 years of marriage to a woman.
His coming out experience led him to volunteer work in the LGBT2Q+ community; after moving to Kelowna in 2011, he became heavily involved with Kelowna Pride. Wilbur was a key part of taking a small Pride March with a few dozen in attendance, to the festival with thousands in attendance in 2019.