Sackville Shows Its Pride
This year, Halifax Pride is hosting Pride Week celebrations from August 12-22, and official details can be found at halifaxpride.com. Here in Sackville, we’re getting ready to hang our rainbow flags in celebration of our Pride community! Michelle Champniss, executive director of the Sackville Business Association, happily explains, “This will be the fourth year our businesses have celebrated Pride through our Fly a Flag campaign with 26 member businesses flying flags in 2020!”
Jay Aaron Roy, owner of local gem, Cape and Cowl Comics and Collectibles, has been an integral part of helping Sackville residents find courage to be themselves. He does this in many ways, one of which is through his youth drop-in centre, the Leighann Wichman Safe Place located in the heart of Cape & Cowl.
This space is open to local youth to hang out and relax, play video games, read comics, play guitar, do homework, and more, Roy explains. COVID-19 has put a halt to much of the group programming, but Roy has shifted his business and made health and safety a main priority. He says, “the support from my community here means absolutely everything to me.” When asked about what that support looks like, Roy says, “like an avalanche of love I get from this community for being so open, like over six years of loyal customers and community donations that allow me to continue to do this work that I am so passionate about.” Sackville residents, global residents, and us here at the Sackville Business Association are so thankful for the way Roy shows his experiences openly as a transgender person moving through the world.
Small business success feels good, doesn’t it? Sackville celebrates authenticity and inclusion and is working towards being a safe, positive environment for people regardless of their background. This is a sentiment felt by Tori Sullivan too, owner of Pride Beauty Lounge set to open soon in Lower Sackville. Pride Beauty Lounge is an inclusive LGBTQ2S+ spa with a non-gendered service menu. Sullivan explains her focus on having inclusive policies for protection of individuals in the BIPOC and LGTBQ2S+ communities and the wide education available for those involved in the beauty industry.
The beauty industry is great. It is very identity affirming. It can be very important for the LGBTQ2S+ community as a way of expressing ourselves and making ourselves feel like the version of ourselves we want to be.
Her spa will offer a sliding scale for individuals who may not be able to afford services regularly. This isn’t Sullivan’s first business endeavour either! She explains her entrepreneurial spirit started at age 10 when she sold reborn dolls and continued with her own non-profit focused on mental health, art, and community outreach and a breakout into the beauty industry with a lash delivery service. She went to school for a counselling diploma, strengthening her skills in helping others and working at a rehab centre, and returned to school to become an aesthetician. She explains, “Pride Beauty Lounge is the mixture between me being a counsellor and my social justice side and also my aesthetician side.” Sullivan says, “The beauty industry is great. It is very identity affirming. It can be very important for the LGBTQ2S+ community as a way of expressing ourselves and making ourselves feel like the version of ourselves we want to be.” She encourages all community members to take care of themselves by spending a day at the spa for relaxation and rejuvenation.