For years, I have yearned to support and attend the annual pride parades in Vancouver ever since I jumped on board with politics and issues in the local, national and international communities. This year I was able to free my schedule and attend my first pride parade - and here I will document my experience and some background information about both the issue at hand and the parade itself.
The fight for the LGBTQ2+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Two-Spirit) community through the help of friends, allies and supporters have become progressively more intense over the last few century, starting with the homophile movement post WWII to the sexual revolution of the 60s. Opponents, often consisting of the political right and more traditional religious groups have found themselves clashing on the streets, online and in politics over the issue.
Discrimination against the community has been traced back to Ancient Greece, and intolerance accelerated with the spread of Islam and Christianity. However, as with technology advancing at an extremely exponential rate, I believe that LGBTQ2+ rights have accelerated as well; challenging the cultural constructs of gender roles, bi/homo/trans-phobia, and the concept of a "nuclear" family consisting of one man and one woman as a parental basis. Victories for the community has boosted in the 21st century with the Netherlands starting the trend of legalizing same-sex marriage in 2001, Canada in 2005 and although late to the party, the United States in 2015.
Sexuality itself is very confusing and is often referred to as a wide spectrum, as opposed to having defined sexual preferences. Much of the progressive West, myself included, believe that education must be the start to change cultural norms. In many parts of the world, those associated with the LGBTQ2+ can have restricted rights, imprisoned (up to life) or even punished by death. Furthermore, the amount of publicized suicides over those being bullied for being in a same-sex relationship have skyrocketed, particularly in the 21st century. However, with major corporations (even if for their own economic advancement) and influential NGOs, political parties, celebrities and musicians jumping on board, things are getting better.
The parade itself was a marvel of spectacle. In the past, the parade had been more "raunchy" and "in-your-face" as some media outlets have described it. Fast forward to today, with the support of many corporate partners such as Stolichnaya Vodka, Palm Bay, Trojan Condoms, TD Bank, Bud Light & Nordstrom, the parade has been toned-down to cater a family-setting and both include and intrigue a wider audience. This has attracted those that have either been confused, scared or perhaps even angered by those of the community; which is a good thing to show that respect and acceptance of those outside your lifestyle goes a long way. Some lovely guest appearances were made by Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party, Elizabeth May of the Greens and Libby Davies of the NDP (who has contributed for decades into my local constituency). Unfortunately, Mulcair was unable to attend due to his campaign in the East and obviously the Conservatives didn't bother showing up (which I'm okay with!)
Below are the photos from the parade. I hope you all enjoy and I hope to see many of you next year!