The last time I went to the Vancouver Pride parade was at least 7 or 8 years ago. I remember that it was a super hot day, just like this year. I remember Jack Layton camping it up in the NDP float – that was cool because he had been a longtime LGBTQ supporter.
I loved celebrating Pride but what I did not enjoy was that there were many other political entities, financial institutions and corporate groups in that Parade that didn’t have much of a history with the LGBTQ community. I remember thinking that the gay vote and the gay dollar must have become important to attract so many of them.
Fast forward to this year.
With both Susannah and I having the day off (this is rare on a long weekend) we decided to head down to English Bay to check out this year’s Parade. Wow! It had grown. Not only in the number of spectators but the number of participants as well. And diverse! It was extremely cool to see such a huge variety of people involved in support groups and organisations to gather and unite members of the community. There were LGBTQ sports groups, school support groups, cultural groups, even a church group (I’m not religious but way to go, Anglicans!).
Yes there were political parties and banks, but they had ‘out’ people marching with them and their message of acceptance and support just seemed so much more genuine. Justin Trudeau marching with his family received huge cheers from the crowd and by being there sent an enormous statement to the world.
#BetterTogether rang true.
I’ll admit I had tears in my eyes at times as I found some of the groups marching to be evidence of real social change in the last 10 years. It was also extremely moving to see the #WeAreOrlando tag and to see photos of the Orlando victims attached to pride flags carried throughout the Parade.
Kudos to the organisers and Grand Marshalls Morgane Oger, Danny Ramadan and Alex Sangha for bringing the Vancouver Pride Parade back to it’s roots of celebration and support.
Here are some of my personal highlights. A full photo gallery can be found here.
Dykes on Bikes! A great way to start the Parade.
Musqueam Indian Band were the the first of many First Nations groups marching.
Even for the participants it can be an emotional experience. There was tremendous support for Two Spirited people at Pride.
PFLAG is one of my favourite organisations as they help kids and parents.
As were some very friendly members of the Vancouver Police Department.
LGBTQ Seniors Have More Fun!
There were some um, great displays….
and some interesting groups.
Click here to view the full gallery of Pride Photos.
For me, LGBTQ rights and equality is about being seen without fear. It’s about being yourself. Pride is a positive day where we celebrate and support one another. It brings people together and helps people find other people that are just like them. To know that you are not alone is extremely important and can be a lifesaver. On Sunday I was very proud to live in Canada and to feel supported by so many people in Vancouver.
Have you ever been to a Pride Parade? How was your experience?