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Monday, 29 June 2015

Can't Rain On Our Parade

All last week, Pride was celebrated in Toronto. Everything that went on led up to Sunday afternoon's Pride parade. A couple of years ago, I took in part of the street festival after attending a charity screening of Serenity. (You can read the corresponding blog post, here: What is Pride?.) It was my first real taste of Pride, and it was beautiful. This year, I took in the parade. But, not only did I take in the parade, I marched IN the parade.


On Saturday, I asked a friend of mine if she was going to the parade and if she wanted any company. She responded with, "I'm marching in the parade with the Youth Contingent, but you're welcome to join us!" I asked if she actually meant for me to join her in the parade. She told me yes, and I'd be accepted. And I was.


I am a heterosexual female. I am also an ally of the LGBTQ community. Several of my friends are in that community, including the friend who invited me to march with her in the parade. Though the parade, and Pride, is about that community, it felt amazing to be a supporter and to be included. When the parade first started, I was a little uncertain, but the more it went on and the more I felt the positivity and love around me, the more amazing I felt. It was wonderful to be a part of something so beautiful, to be in a place where you can be proud to be who you are – gay, lesbian, bi, trans, straight, whatever.


The love the crowd gave us was also uplifting. People lined the roofs and those who lived along the parade route sat in their windows. One gay couple had a pair of rainbow flags in their apartment windows as they danced on the second story ledge. Another couple tossed roses from a roof to those in the parade. I was lucky enough to catch one.

Marching in the parade.


The 2015 Toronto Pride Parade came on the heels of the US Supreme Court's ruling that same sex marriage is legal in all 50 States. The ruling made this year's Pride extra special for the LGBTQ community and its allies. The legalization of same sex marriage in America is a huge step forward. America is a world leader and I believe it will create a domino effect like we've never before seen. No one deserves to be oppressed because of the colour of their skin or hair, their religion (or lack thereof), the tax bracket they fall into, their gender, their sexual orientation, or anything. People should be accepted regardless of any and all of the aforementioned items. Everyone deserves the right to live their lives and love whomever they choose.


The parade was met with protest, as I figured it would be. However, the protest was small, and the crowd celebrating Pride drowned out the words of damnation given to us over bullhorns. The anger I felt toward the protesters soon turned to joy as I realized there is strength in number, and the number of supporters far outweighed the number of protesters.

 

The weather was also less than kind. It drizzled rain all day. But, no amount of rain was going to keep us from marching. No amount of rain could keep the crowds from cheering us on. And it didn't.


Pride is a wonderful thing. It is a time and place of happiness, of celebration, of inclusiveness, and of freedom to be who we are. And who am I?


I am a woman. I am a writer. I am a believer that all religions have a place in this world. I am Canadian. I am an ally of the LGBTQ community. I am all these things and I am damn well PROUD of it.