What to say about ProPride 2013?
First, let me specify that I loved the event last year (my first year to attend: see my pictures from ProPride 2012) and signed up the first moment that I heard we were going again this year. Last year I made a number of connections, and my biggest regret was that I did not keep up with any of them (my goal is to rectify that, this year). But at the same time, there is an internal tension with regard to the event for me. ProPride Toronto is described as: “Canada’s largest professional networking event for the LGBTA Community” (Pride at Work, 2013). I’m extremely glad that I even live in a place where this kind of event can move forward and is popular, but it conflicts (a tiny bit) with my activist roots in Arkansas. Although I enjoyed it and am glad I went, I was probably not the most typically “professional” person at the event. (I had failed to read the “Dress Code” on the website above, so I was probably the only person to show up in jeans: at least they were black and groomed!) My introvert side has to stretch its wings when I go.
As with last year, this year was very successful. It was a bit crowded and loud, and many conversations happening. I met a number of people and traded business cards, though my focus was more on taking pictures. The Premier of Ontario spoke as an honoured guest, and for the first time I managed a glimpse of the Hon. Kathleen Wynne’s wife, Jane Rounthwaite. Ms. Wynne spoke about what it was like coming out in a Toronto before it was accepted to be gay, as it is in many parts of the world. Although the event was intended to celebrate our freedom, we should not forget those who are still battling discrimination in different parts of the world.
So the message was good, and the event successful. It was a great introduction to the less sophisticated and more grass-roots experience of the weekend. It is now one of the photo sets I’ve put on Flickr for this weekend.