I found myself feeling proud as I stood on the side of Beach Street in the West End of Vancouver the afternoon of August 1st. The sun was gently mixing with soft clouds making the temperature comfortable, and the view of the ocean and mountains completed the smug feeling I was experiencing.
“We live in a pretty darn nice place,” I thought, and expressed it to my partner who was standing behind me with a big grin. He agreed.
We weren’t standing alone. We were with about 700,000 other people enjoying one of Vancouver’s biggest celebrations, The Gay Pride Parade, on Pride Weekend.
It was my first Pride Parade and I loved watching both the audience and the participants. The word liberation kept coming to my mind. Liberation and celebration.
I saw a community of strength and determination, and belonging. I saw inclusion, family, youth, elderly, love, un-leashed craziness (in the best way possible).
I saw Pride.
I felt proud to be in a community where our Chief of Police strolled with other officers in the parade. I loved that the TD Bank had a sexy, sparkly float with young people dancing.
I respected the political statements (“Sex on beaches NOT Exxon beaches”) and admired the participants who proudly displayed their protests.
I laughed at the characters dressed in outlandish imaginative outfits as they taunted the crowds.
We have come a long way in how this community is viewed, and I commend the courage that many, many people have had to have in order to be themselves… not an easy task even in the best of times. Us “heteros” can learn from you!
To myself, I thought… next year? My wild and woolly bouffons need to be here! Look out 2011!
Stay tuned for another summer vignette…