Thousands of people celebrated LGBTQ2 joy and resilience at the Calgary Pride Parade on Sunday.
The parade started around 11 a.m. at the intersection of 9th Avenue SW and Fifth Street SW and ended around noon at Fort Calgary. A festival for all ages was to be held at Prince Edward Island Park throughout the afternoon and evening following the parade.
Many attendees describe Pride as an event to showcase the diversity of Calgary’s LGBTQ2 community. For them, Pride is a day to tell others that they have the right to feel comfortable in their own identity and in their body.
“The queer community is incredibly strong, diverse and incredibly helpful,” said Rocket Mercury, who attended the parade earlier on Sunday.
“You have to be ready for everyone. … You have to be ready to support everyone. You need to learn, educate yourself and diversify your groups of friends.
“It’s all about trust. It’s being able to feel comfortable in your community and feel beautiful in the community,” said Kenney Mercury, another parade participant.
Others say Pride is a way to connect people with Calgary’s LGBTQ2 community and a way to stand in solidarity with queer and trans people.
Allison Vickery of the Canadian Pride Historical Society told PKBNEWS that the Pride Parade brings everyone together, which helps queer and trans people feel safe.
“In Alberta, we are taking a step back and there has been a bit of a backlash against the LGBTQ2+ community. Some people feel less safe when they attend events like this and that’s why it’s important to come together and help people feel safe,” she said.
Vickery said documenting LGBTQ2 history is also important to showcase the accomplishments of queer and trans people as well as community resilience.
The first Pride marches were held in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago on June 28, 1970, according to the Library of Congress. Thousands of LGBTQ2 people gathered to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising a year ago, when LGBTQ2 people fought back against police in a raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.
In Canada, the Pride movement is made up of multiple protests and activism efforts across the country. However, the catalyst was the decriminalization of homos****lity in 1969, according to the Canadian Pride Historical Society. The We Demand rally in Ottawa was organized in response to the fact that queer and trans people felt that the legislation was not doing enough to protect LGBTQ2 people.
The historical society has launched research and education materials in Alberta to educate children about LGBTQ2 history in Canada, something that has never been taught before in the province.
“Over the past year, we have researched all Pride communities in Alberta. We are trying to uncover this hidden history and the stories that have not been told and make it available to everyone,” Jonathan Niemczak of the Canadian Pride Historical Society told PKBNEWS on Saturday.
The organization has also launched the Capture Pride History campaign, which encourages everyone to submit photos of Pride events to a live photo database.
“The education and research project is about connecting people to this history, what we fought for and what we achieved,” Vickery said.
“It reminds us how strong we are and how important it is to come together as a community.”
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