Halifax Pride’s Parade Marshal for 2009, Jennifer Nearing, has won medals at the Outgames, campaigned to advance the LGBT community in her work at Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project and taken part in the Vagina Monologues.
However, she says the reason she’s been selected as marshal is because of her ordinariness.
“I was kind of surprised they asked me, but I guess I’ve been around the community for a long time,” the Halifax woman said.
For the last 20 years, Nearing has quietly worked as a lecturer, public speaker and writer on LGBT issues.
“I’m happy that they chose someone like myself, because there are lots of people who go about doing things without a lot of fanfare. I just do my little bit.”
A focal point of her time with NSRAP was working to recognize same-sex marriages, but she stepped down from that position last year.
Today, Nearing lives with her partner, works as a manager in the federal government and spends time with her “adult kids.”
“I’m just another person out in the community who happens to be a member of the queer community and I think that, in a sense is a great service to the community,” she said. “It shows people that, rather than the stereotypical images a lot of people have of the queer community, we’re just like everyone else. We all put our socks on one foot at a time and go to work.”
Nearing won five medals at the 2006 Outgames in Montreal and is the president of a local swim club.
“It’s not the high-profile people that really change things, it’s the people that are out there living their lives openly and honestly and doing their little bit,” she says.