It was a hot summers day in Denver, the year was 2005 and my 16 year old eyes were wide with excitement. Not only was this going to be my first pride, but I had secured a spot in the parade through friends. We had a yellow Camaro ready to roar through the cheers of thousands of people. And we had Spongebob. Yes, Spongebob. This was just after the news medias had outed the famous cartoon character, much to the delight of the world. When the floats and cars started to slowly pull forward, my heart was pounding with adrenaline. We chanted the theme song to that cartoon well over 100 times, getting members of the street to join in. We got high fives and cheers for our car and our mascot, people were laughing and dancing, holding theirs heads high and the thousands of smiles that greeted us were so contagious it was as though the energy would never run out. As I took a break with my fellow mascot on the back of a slow rolling camaro, he looked at me through his giant square yellow head and said- “Hop off!”
At least thats what I swear to this day I heard. Instead the two words were in fact, “Hang on!”
The yellow Camaro revved up and zoomed off at 20 mph to clear the distance between the float in front of us. They had lost one very important piece of cargo along the way. Me. I hit the black pavement with a loud THUD and enough momentum to keep me rolling until my face was directly in front of the tires of the car behind us. The simultaneous groan from the audience let me know they felt my pain. I very carefully eased my way off the pavement, pain throbbing throughout me. An audience of 100 plus people stared at me with shocked expressions. Embarrassed, hurt, and hot, the only thing I could think to yell was, “Its OK, because I’m gay!”
With that all the people within a quarter mile radius let out a cheer, as I limped off to my yellow Camaro.
It was an unforgettable experience, not only because of the scar on my arm, but because of the emotions from the people that flow through your entire being on that day. The ones that tell you how much they’ve been through to be standing there, the ones that tell you how much they’ve fought for, how much they will continue to fight for, how proud we all are of each other for coming together and celebrating one another. But most importantly, it was one of my best experiences because for the first time in my life, I felt I belonged somewhere. That I was home.
This year I attended my first ever Pride as an ally. I have struggled a lot with myself and opening up to who I truly am.
I come from a small town, that is based around their religious and conservative views. To even say you’re an ally of the community gave you dirty looks, never mind if you actually were apart of the community.
I remember when I first started at my high school (holds grades 7-12) a girl in the grade above me asked me if my sister was a lesbian, based on the way she dresses and her hair and the way she acted. Me, being a small seventh grader, was so embarrassed that I got asked that. That’s when I started to keep my opinions on the LGBTQ community to myself. I was so scared that if I talked about it or even was wanting to learn about it people would label me as a lesbian too. Around grade 9, I started to open up more on certain views I had. A new teacher had came to our school and was open to discussing the issues that surround the LGBTQ community instead of dismissing the conversation like other teachers had.
I started to understand that people outside of this small town will not care that I am an ally of the LGBTQ community. I don’t care anymore if people will label me as gay or a lesbian or bisexual just because I care about the community. I feel it’s important for me to be open with what I believe in and things I want to change.
This year going to Pride, was a big step for me. I didn’t hide the fact that I went. I posted pictures on my Snapchat story and I only got one ignorant comment. I’m excited for Pride 2019!
I’m nearly 34. This has been my first year being open with myself about being bisexual. Before this year, I’d never attended Pride. I let social anxiety stop me from showing up as an ally. I almost let that anxiety get the better of me this year. I wanted to attend more than ever, because […]
My first Pride was today! 2018 will be my first full year being myself. I struggled with self acceptance, even now, but getting out there and seeing thousands of people all celebrating themselves was an incredible experience. I am just sad that it’s over and even more sad that I didn’t know there was more to it than just today’s parade!
I was eased into Pride, because I started going before I even knew I was asexual. Back then it was just a fun party! After quietly coming out as asexual, my first Pride was so much more exciting. I wore the ace flag colours and got a thrill whenever I saw someone else wearing them. I got an “Asexual” sticker and bought pride flag earrings and just basked in the feeling of being out and proud.
Since my first botched coming out 15 years ago I’ve grappled with shame and fear, but I’m too profoundly tired of hiding to do it any longer. This year I’m joining the trans march to be counted and heard. I’ll do this knowing that I have the full support of my partner and the closest friends I’ve ever had. I couldn’t feel any luckier to be loved and to be trans. <3
I haven’t had a first pride. It has never seemed like my scene. It’s probably still not my scene. I don’t like crowds, sun, or parties very much. Not when they’re not accompanied by loud punk rock and a circle pit, anyways. But this time two years ago, I was pretty sure I was straight. And this time last year, I was just discovering that I might not be. And this year, at age 33, I’ve realized that I’ve been bisexual all along. So while it might not be my scene, it feels a lot more like a place I should be. We’ll see.
My parents were out at the lake during the day and they had no idea I was going to pride because I was too scared to tell them I was gay and wanted to go to the festival. I ended up going with a friend of mine not knowing what to expect from my first pride. When I got there I felt immediate vibes of happiness and acceptance coming from everyone there. Seeing all the different companies, schools, organizations and groups In the parade showed me all the support that was coming from all across our city. While I was at the festival I decided to buy a large rainbow flag to remember my first ever pride. When I got home that evening and my parents were back from the lake I decided to walk into their room with my huge rainbow flag and throw it at them while saying “taste the rainbow”. It took them a minute to realize that I was coming out to them, but when they caught on they couldn’t have been prouder of me. Pride gave me the confidence to fully accept myself and not be afraid to share this part of who I am. It was the best experience I have ever had and has made me so proud to be in the lgbt community.
I went to my first Pride event a long time ago. I felt so free as soon as I was there and wanted to let go of all the lies that I was living. I am a 46 year old intersex individual. Pride looks passed this. To them it was just a word. I was walking with Rainbow Centre and I came out as lesbian at first because I had no idea what intersex was. I want to thank all who helped me be who I am and become an outstanding person. One person asked me what intersex meant and after explaining, still treated me as a human. He is a wise person who told me not to run away and to come to Pride. We all go to Pride not because of our sexuality, we go to Pride to speak and become more wise. All days are Pride days. We dress up, go by ourselves, we walk, dance, take our kids, or free to express our disAbilities without judgement. We are humans, we stand up. To walk is to share freedom. As we walk and stroll inn our wheel chair in hand, we allow the world to see what they don’t see. We tell ourselves or who is beside us to not fear your thoughts anymore. We all stand together for Pride. Thank you Brad West.
The Pride Winnipeg Festival runs from May 24 – June 2, 2019 and consists of an array of cultural events that celebrate the incredibly diverse community that supports or identifies with the GSRD community.