Sunday was the final day of World Pride in Toronto and I went to my first pride parade! I had never been because usually the parade is the same weekend of Canada Day and I am usually out of town. Since I could make it this year I decided to get colourful and painted my nails rainbow, wore my rainbow earrings I’ve been holding onto since elementary school, and the most multi-coloured dress I had in my wardrobe.
The heat was almost unbearable and I was soon sweating through my dress but it was worth it to experience the excitement, happiness, friendliness, and simply the pride of the parade goers. Every person I interacted with was happy and friendly. And the amount of straight couples who showed up as allies impressed me. The crowd was truly varied and although the LGBTQ community was very obviously the main focus I was happy to see the number of allies. What really impressed me and warmed my heart were the religious groups proudly marching in the parade. Groups that included LGBTQ people as well as allies. Groups that denounced the way some people of their faith treat the LGBTQ community.
My 3 favourite moments of pride were: 1. My brother having a layover in Toronto for a few hours who I met up with for dinner. 2. The Tegan and Sara concert I had been highly anticipating all day and which did not disappoint. and 3. The wonderful serendipitous beauty of the rainbow that peaked through the sky after a 20-30 minute rainstorm. Such a perfect way to end world pride and more wonderful than anything the organizers could have put together. It should be acknowledged the amount of work and volunteers it took to help make pride the amazing celebration it was.
I’d like to close this post with what I am proud of. I am proud that I live in a city that can openly and unabashedly celebrate peoples differences. That people can be free to love who they want in Toronto and Canada for that matter. That the few voices who cry out against the fundamental right to love whoever one wants are quickly overpowered and shut down by those who know what’s right. That one city and one event and one day full of happy smiling faces can make me feel so happy.
There are still many struggles for the LGBTQ community of course. I do not naively think that the relative peace during pride is reflective of Toronto 365 days a year. There is still so much hate around. So much prejudice. So much willful ignorance. That is why showing your support cannot be a once a year thing during pride. It has to be a daily thing. Stand up to the coworker that makes an inappropriate joke/slur/ignorant comment. Try to educate those who will listen and shut down those who won’t budge. Make it known that attitudes, behaviours, and comments that promote hate, whether directly or inadvertently, are not ok or acceptable. Being an ally and supporting pride needs to happen 365 days a year because there is still so much that needs to be done.