My First Pride Story

It was 1987. The year of the first annual Gay Pride March in Winnipeg, and I was going to be part of it. The inclusion of sexual orientation in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms had just passed legislation. This was an extra special reason to celebrate. A few hundred people met at Vimy Ridge Park for the parade down Broadway to the legislature. It was a beautiful sunny day full of excitement and fun. A protester held a sign quoting, “you shall reap what you sow.” My friend, John responded by shouting, “we shall reap what we sow and spread the seeds all around the world!’ Cheers! I felt sorry for People who wore paper bags over their heads in fear of being fired or disowned be their family. But at least they were there in support. The march grew into a platform for equal right and acceptance for everyone. Coming out at age 16 in 1985 was unheard of. I joined a gay youth group who held weekly meetings discussing current events and support. I was introduced to an underground of bars and communities. I persuaded my high school counselor to advertise the gay youth group in Glenlawn School’s newsletter, but there was no response from students. I interviewed Chis Vogel to learn his insight and expertise on the inclusion of sexual orientation in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for one of my essays in high school. I met my first girlfriend 1986 through a mutual friend. Life was wonderful! I surrounded myself with supportive family and friends, but some still thought it was just a phase. Why can’t I be gay and still be considered “normal?” I felt normal, but I was attracted to girls. I brought my girlfriend, Angela to my high school graduation as my date. We wore matching tuxedos and all my classmates and teachers were very accepting. I am grateful for all the brave people and hard work this one small seed has blossomed into. I am legally married now and living a happy “normal” life. My phase has lasted 49 years.