This post was originally published on Gather.com, and is reproduced here (primarily to try to keep my writing in one spot).
This morning I posted some pictures from this year’s Gay Pride parade in Toronto. The event is something of an experience for everyone, not just the LGBTQ community. Some of my straight friends attended; even more intended to go but didn’t actually get around to it. That is a wonderful part of the day, and the week of Pride: it is a time to enjoy your differences, everyone’s differences, those little things about each other that are unique and (usually) enjoyable.
Two things I find particularly fun about the parade. The first is that I walk in the parade, with the float for the MCC Toronto Church (this year). Thus I don’t get pictures of all the floats, or the whole parade. There were a few that I did manage to get this year: they were, in a word, fabulous and just begged to be caught on film (or digitally, now). But mostly I get pictures of the crowd, those watching the parade: who are, in turn, taking pictures of us. I hope that this conveys some of the excitement of the parade and the day. And, of course, it’s a great vantage point for getting pictures of hot guys. (Did I say that?)
My second thing is the contrast between the first two years I participated in parades. For years I avoided Pride: I did not understand that “Pride” is a celebration of uniqueness rather than a display of arrogance. But in 2006 I helped to plan the first pride parade in Little Rock, Arkansas. They wouldn’t let us use city streets for our parade, so instead we got together at a park and set up booths and floats and enjoyed our day. There were only a few hundred of us, but we had a great time. And most of us had nothing to compare to.
Then I moved back to Toronto, and one of the biggest pride celebrations in the world. I moved from one extreme to the other. This has nothing to do with size being “better” or “more effective”; I don’t mean to claim that Toronto is that much better than Little Rock in all respects (or even in many respects: I love my adopted home), but the difference in gay rights is enormous. It is an illustration of how far we’ve come, and yet there is also so much further to go.